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10 Ways to Revive a Deadened Heart

  • Jennifer Slattery JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com
  • 2017 12 Jun
10 Ways to Revive a Deadened Heart

Every Christian goes through what many refer to as “desert” seasons—when it feels as if we’re living by force of will rather than faith. The danger comes when this period of spiritual lethargy becomes a way of life, choking our passion and our love for life. Here are some ways we can help, by God’s power at work in us, to spark life into hearts that have become deadened and indifferent.

Editor, Novelist, and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team put on events at hosting churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She has five novels out with New Hope Publishers and is the managing and acquisitions editor of Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte.

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  • 1. Verify your standing with Christ.

    1. Verify your standing with Christ.

    Has your heart been reborn and made new by Christ’s Holy Spirit? Apart from God, Scripture makes it clear that we’re spiritually dead and have hard, stubborn hearts that are opposed to God’s will. When we trust in Christ for salvation, however, God gives us a removes our “stony, stubborn hearts” and replaces them with those that are tender and responsive.

     

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  • 2. Simplify your schedule.

    2. Simplify your schedule.

    We may be the busiest, most stressed out, chaotic culture that has ever existed, and though this generation gets a lot done, our hearts often suffer. When we consider some of the greats in Scripture, those who had incredibly intimate relationships with God, we notice these men spent a great deal of time in contemplation. Waiting. Doing little to nothing, something that would drive many of us in today’s rapid-paced culture nuts.

    Consider David, a man whom God refers to as, “a man after My own heart.” (Acts 13:22). Prior to being crowned as Israel’s first king, he spent countless hours wandering across the open land, tending his father’s sheep. This time, spent alone outdoors, sparked within him a deep love for God and the things of Him, a courage to follow through, and helped him develop the kind of intimacy that allowed him to say that God’s “unfailing love was better than life itself” (Psalm 63:3a NLT).

     

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  • 3. Confess your sin.

    3. Confess your sin.

    Though our emotions can be deceitful and aren’t always accurate indicators of our spirituality, if we’re living in sin, we can expect our intimacy with Christ to wane. As believers, we often like to think of the big spiritual rebellions like lying, cheating, stealing, and pornography, but according to Romans 14:23, we sin whenever we’re living and operating outside of God’s will. This may include something as simple as turning left when God tells us to go right, or standing still when He tells us to move.

    If we’re in Christ, we’ve been forgiven and made clean, but that doesn’t mean we’re “walking” with Him. If we’re feeling spiritual distance, it could be there’s something we need to surrender, let go of, or stop doing. 

     

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  • 4. Let go of grudges and forgive.

    4. Let go of grudges and forgive.

    Although God wants us to come to Him honestly, openly sharing our hurts, He doesn’t want us to hold grudges. An unforgiving, embittered heart is contrary to the heart of God, the One who gave His life so you and I could experience spiritual and emotional freedom and an ever-increasing intimacy with Him. Scripture makes it clear that bitterness has no place in worship or prayer. (Mark 11:25). 

    Right relationships and reconciliation are a huge deal to God. Christ tells us, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice at the alter. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23-24, NLT). 

    Forgiving is hard, painful. But is holding that grudge worth more than our intimacy with Christ? Do we love our anger and bitterness more than we love Him?

     

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  • 5. Serve the poor and hurting.

    5. Serve the poor and hurting.

    Little can soften, impassion, and heal a heart quite like feeling God’s love pour through us to someone else. In our normal day-to-day lives, it’s easy to become self-obsessed. Our problems can feel daunting, our pain suffocating. Our circumstances monotonous and draining. But the more we focus on all our difficulties, the more dominant they become, leaving us miserable. But when we step into someone else’s hurt and allow God to touch them through us, our hope and joy soar. 

    More importantly, Scripture tells us, when we serve the hurting, poor, and imprisoned, we’re actually serving Christ. (Matthew 25:35-45).

     

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  • 6. Remember all God's done.

    6. Remember all God's done.

    I have a tendency to become entitled, to behave as if God owes me something, whether that’s answered prayers, life to go as I desire, or to fulfill my dreams and expectations. But when I remember where I was when God first began transforming my life and all He’s done since, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and praise. 

    It’s easy to forget, and in our forgetting, to lose the joy and passion we once had. But when we take time to remember, a ray of light floods our hearts, igniting our passion for the One who is the source of everything good. 

     

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  • 7. Meditate on who God is.

    7. Meditate on who God is.

    The word “meditation” can make us nervous because often we associate it with the unbiblical western practices rooted in Hinduism. But Christian meditation is different. Rather than attempting to disengage the mind like in transcendentalism, this spiritual discipline engages it through study, prayer, and seeking Divine wisdom. 

    Often, when King David felt himself slipping into despair, he chose to “meditate on,” “contemplate,” or “ponder” God’s Word, power, and nature. When our hearts become deadened, our perception of God might become distorted. We may be tempted to believe He doesn’t care or that He’s not listening to our prayers. But Scripture promises that He is always loving, faithful, attentive, and true. As we focus on God’s unchanging nature, He draws our hearts to Him and reminds us that though life is constantly changing, and our emotions may ebb and flow, He never will. 

     

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  • 8. Take your thoughts captive.

    8. Take your thoughts captive.

    Whatever we feed grows; whatever we starve dies. In other words, the more we entertain negative, self-defeating, or depressing thoughts, the more abundant those thoughts become, turning into a snowball of negativity. But we have the power to choose which thoughts we’ll entertain and which ones we’ll toss out. 

    Part of developing the mind of Christ is learning to think as God does. This means being diligent to discard the lies that bombard our minds each day and replacing them with the truth found in Scripture.

    For example, if the thought, “This situation will never change,” comes to mind, we can replace it with, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT). 

    If we’re tempted to think, “No one cares (about me, this situation, my future),” we can focus on John 3:16, which tells us that God loves us so much, He allowed His beloved Son to die in our place so that we could have a relationship with Him. 

    Whatever the lie, Scripture has a truth to replace it. We can do this by determining which lies we struggle with the most and find an applicable verse to memorize or meditate on. As we do, that lie will begin to lose its power, and our hope and passion for the things of God will be given room to grow. 

     

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  • 9. Pray for help.

    9. Pray for help.

    My heart can be easily swayed, weighed down, and dulled. When this happens, I may feel powerless to recharge my passion and my faith. And yet, I believe Scripture teaches that’s God’s job. He’s the One who softened and ignited our hearts in the first place, and He’s the One able to revive them.

    When I’m feeling unenthused about the things of God or like I’ve fallen into a spiritual rut, I like to pray Psalm 51:12, which says, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me” (NIV). 

     

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  • 10. Trust that Christ's love is steadfast.

    10. Trust that Christ's love is steadfast.

    Our emotions tend to rise and fall depending on what we’re experiencing, how we’re feeling physically, and even how much sleep we’ve received. But our faith can stand firm and unshakable, even when our emotions turn fickle, because it rests not on us but instead of saving and holding power of Christ. 

    When I feel emotionally distant from Christ, I remember James 4:8, which says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” I claim this as a promise and trust that this is true. The moment I take even the slightest step toward Christ, He’s already moving toward me. When I pray to Him, He’s with me, whether I feel Him or not. He hears me, whether He answers when or how I want or not. And He loved me with an unfathomable, unchanging, never-ending love, whether my heart is on fire for Him or I’ve fallen into a rut. 

     

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