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Are You Experiencing a Spiritual Shutdown?
James Tollett – October 4, 2013

This past week, the United States government experienced a shutdown.  Simply put: the House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree.  This created a stalemate which caused the government not to fund certain programs.  Such a shutdown is not productive, but the same could be said of a spiritual shutdown.

In a spiritual shutdown, the believer feels estranged from God.  He or she does not want to read the Bible.  This person may not even want to fellowship with other believers or go to church.  Additionally, there are other debilitating effects on the life of a believer who is experiencing a spiritual shutdown.

I believe that the primary cause for spiritual shutdown is self-centeredness.  This happens when people take their focus off the Lord and the Kingdom of God, and focus more on themselves.  Rather than seeking God’s Kingdom first (Matt. 6:33), these people begin to listen to radio station “WIFM” (What’s In it For Me).  At times of spiritual shutdown, it is all about ME.

This is not a new problem—in fact, it was first found in the Garden of Eden.  When the serpent tempted Eve, he was telling her that it was “all about her.”  The immediate result of listening to the serpent was sin.  Sin led to separation from the Lord (Gen. 3:1-6).

Now I am not saying that such people have lost their salvation, just that they have taken their eyes and their affections off the Lord.  They have lost their focus on that which is most important: their relationship with God and other believers.  The good news is that the solution is simple: people in this condition just need to surrender their kingdom (their will) once again to the Lord.

How do believers stop or avert a spiritual shutdown?  At the first sign of losing interest in the things of the Lord, take positive action.  Start reopening the channels of communication with the Lord.  We can do this by listening to and singing along with praise music.  We can start reciting favorite passages of Scripture.  And, yes, start praying and asking the Lord for help.

The Lord has promised believers that if we draw close to Him, He will draw near to us.  Repentance is necessary; and as we repent, the Lord will restore us (James 4:8-10).  You see, when we say “Yes” to the Lord, we are actually saying “AMEN” or “let it be”.  By doing this, we will not only avert but can also stop a spiritual shutdown!

If you have experienced, or are experiencing, a spiritual shutdown, let me suggestt that you read or sign the words to J. W. Van Deventer's hymn "I Surrender All." The chorus of that song states: "I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all." If we surrender to the Lord, we will not experience a spiritual shutdown.

Until next week, I am James Tollett, your missionary to America.