Several years ago I came back from vacation feeling, not refreshed and renewed, but distracted, disenfranchised, and alienated. I came home feeling that, during my time away, a distance had developed in my relationship with God, and I was somehow further away from him than I had been. I began to wonder, "What happened in my spiritual life? I just spent several days relaxing, why isn't my soul at rest?"
First, I want to make it clear that we don't live by feelings, we live by faith. The purpose of the spiritual life is not just to feel good. At the same time, it's a fact that when we are connected to God spiritually, as we should be, we experience a certain "peaceful, easy feeling" about life. When we're not flowing in our relationship with him, as we should be, that peaceful easy feeling is conspicuous by its absence.
This is what I experienced when I came home from vacation. I began to ask myself, "What has changed?" I wasn't in rebellion, I wasn't running from Nineveh, I wasn't trying to avoid doing what God wanted me to do—but I just knew that I wasn't where I needed to be spiritually. I began to realize that, over the course of that particular summer, due to travel, camps, vacations, and so on, I had gotten out of the habit of doing certain things—certain spiritual disciplines—that are necessary for success in the Christian life. These are things that I had typically done on a fairly consistent basis, and so when my habits changed, it didn't take long for me to notice the difference. In the same way, when I went back to square one, it didn't take long to get back to the way things used to be.
Today we're beginning a new series called, ...
This sermon is available to PreachingToday.com members only.
Steve May is a speaker, author, and missionary living in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has served as pastor of churches in Oklahoma, California, and Tennessee. He is author of several books, including Preaching Through the Year.