How to Do a Spiritual ‘Spot Check’

My dad is a carpet cleaner—and a very fine one at that. It’s a lovely luxury to enjoy the feeling of fluffy, soft, newly-cleaned fibers under your feet. But just like everything else in life, carpet requires maintenance.

My dad tells me that most people clean their carpets about once every five years. However, if carpet receives a more regular maintenance cleaning (like once every five months), it stays fresh and relatively unsoiled.

Dealing with Spiritual Dryness

Pretty much every Christian I know has experienced something that can be called “spiritual dryness” or “feeling distant from God.”

Perhaps it’s a profound desert of cold religion that lasts for weeks or months. Maybe it’s just an off-day, and you know you’re not loving God as you should.

If you have understood and believed the gospel, I’d like to share what you can know to be true from Scripture when you walk through a spiritually dry—or to keep with the carpet analogy, dingy—season:

  • God is “well pleased” with you as you stand before Him, positionally perfect in the sacrificial payment of His Son (Matt. 3:16–17).
  • While your sin grieves the heart of God, your rebellion or lack of growth can only affect your ability to enjoy God and thrive in His goodness and truth. It cannot thwart God’s unconditional love for you (Eph. 4:30; Rom. 8:38).
  • Sin (even “small” sin like laziness) deceives us and causes us to die spiritually instead of grow spiritually. That is why we may feel distant in our relationship and communion with God, even though our righteous standing before Him in Christ will never change (Rom. 8:6).

The next time you hit a dry patch, consider that God does not expect us to be spiritually spotless at all times. He knows that is an impossibility while we are in these sinful bodies with sinful natures.

Scripture says that “as a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:13–14). In other words, God knows that it’s scary to be us! He understands that we are fallen beings in need of holy perfection—that’s why He provided His Son, Jesus Christ!

And yet God designed us to flourish while pursuing holiness, spiritual cleanliness. Just like maintaining lovely carpet, maintaining a heart of spiritual loveliness requires regular routine—faithful actions in the small things.

So how can we establish the kind of “maintenance” that keeps our spiritual lives healthy, fresh, and vibrant? Here are four tips that I’ve found to be invaluable as I pursue a clean, fresh spiritual walk:

1. Gospel Reflection

It’s essential that we think about the gospel often and grow in our appreciation for it. Every night before bed, I take a few minutes to read verses that specifically explain what Christ has done for me, paying for my sin and empowering me to live victoriously. Here are some of the verses that I use on rotation:

Devoting just this small amount of time to consider the gospel each night has done three huge things for me. It has helped me value the gospel like never before, it has directed my thoughts away from sinful directions when I am vulnerable at night, and it has motivated my heart to seek fellowship with God in my quiet time the next morning.

2. Daily Devotions

We all know it. We know that we should read life-giving Scripture and pray every single day. It is simple in concept, but it is hard to do consistently. Our enjoyment of our relationship with God takes effort, just like any other relationship.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to prioritize this in your life, regardless of how much sleep you need or how much school you have. This one thing is needful: to sit before the feet of our loving Father, worshiping, casting our cares, and receiving wisdom (Luke 10:42).

I would encourage you to dig deep in your times with God by keeping a super doable study journal.

Personally, I read one chapter in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament daily. For each chapter, I journal a star, a question mark, and an arrow. The star notes something in the chapter that strikes me as interesting or notable. The question mark notes something I don’t understand or may wonder about the passage. The arrow is for personal application—applying a specific verse or general principle from the chapter to my life.

3. Scripture Memorization

Memorizing Scripture is a great way to maintain your spiritual walk! Not only does it commit God’s precious words to memory, it allows you to think about God’s truth and goodness as you go about your day. It helps to fill those “dead times” when you don’t need much brain power, like when you’re in the car, in the shower, getting ready, doing housework, etc.

Memorize verses, chapters, or books that are especially meaningful and applicable to you. Committing Scripture to memory has so many payoffs. It comforts and encourages your spirit, it supplies you with spiritual ammunition when you’re tempted to sin, and it provides wisdom by filtering life’s situations through God’s Word.

4. Listening to Sermons

Find some great podcasts, YouTube channels, or apps that stream speakers who are committed to teaching God’s Word. This is another awesome “dead time” filler that will edify your soul.

A few of my favorite teachers to listen to are:

How about you? What are some helpful tips that you have discovered for spiritual maintenance? Tell me about it in a comment below.

About Author

Liz Wickham is a piano teacher and new bride. She loves cooking, painting, singing, mentoring younger women, and walking on the beach in the California sunshine with her wonderful husband.

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