The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Refinement (Spiritual Valley)

From Monster to Marvelous: Why You’ll Eventually Thank God for Putting You Through Valley Hell

273

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

When Christians say that they are going through a spiritual valley, they mean that they are in a period of life during which their personal relationships with God have hit an all-time low.  Now a man can have a bad day and still be in a good place with his wife, or he could have a bad day while he and his wife are locked in a bitter battle of wills.  The second scenario is far more miserable than the first, because the man’s relationship with his wife has such a big impact on his personal stress load.  As long as he is at odds with her, he feels he can’t rely on her to give him any kind of support or encouragement.  Instead, someone who should be his closest ally is operating like his worst enemy, for no other human knows how to knife him better than his spouse.  Read more of this post

Understanding Your Complete Loss of Faith: Great News for Devastated Christians

259

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

One of the most thrilling moments in a serious Christian’s life is when he suddenly finds his great confidence in God crumbling to dust right in front of him.  As his faith melts away like ice cubes in a pot of boiling water, the Christian is left feeling completely helpless and unable to stop the erosion process.  In a horrifyingly short period of time, he goes from being totally confident about so many things to being in serious doubt about everything–even the reality of God.  Beliefs that used to have such a clear ring of truth suddenly sound so ludicrous that the Christian can’t talk himself into accepting them any longer.  His doubts become so intense and his faith so non-existent, that he feels he has no choice but to thrust the whole concept of God away from him and find some way to try and deal with the dark, meaningless existence that fills the place where his confidence once was.     Read more of this post

Learning from David: The Anointed Life

110

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

David was some grubby little shepherd boy and God made him the king over a prosperous kingdom.  Now there’s a nice “rags to riches” story.  No wonder we like the story of David…well, parts of it, anyhow.  What we actually know about it…which really isn’t much.  We know he wrote Psalm 23.  We know he killed Goliath [gō-LĪ-ŭth].  Some of us have a vague idea that David’s transition to king was a bit rocky, but most of us fluff that off and focus on the fact that David did finally make it to glory in the end.  After David was king, there was the whole Bathsheba [băth-SHĒ-bŭh] mess—but that got cleared up.  So David had a pretty sweet life on earth, right?  It must be nice to be one of God’s favorites.  This is what many Christians think about David, and the rumors of David’s overall cheery life persist today because we are taught to avoid reading the Old Testament for ourselves.  Once we’re not reading for ourselves, we have no way of knowing how consistently our preachers and teachers are avoiding certain passages—passages which would totally shatter the many happy rumors which surround Christendom’s favorite heroes. Read more of this post

Returning to the God You Divorced: Guidance for Christians

239

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

When we first begin our relationship with God, we bring a list of ultimatums with us.  That list contains a bunch of behaviors which we won’t tolerate God engaging in.  That list defines the limits our of willingness to be dominated by Him. Sure, we’ll stay as long as God doesn’t engage in some unpardonable sin.  But if He does cross certain lines with us, we’re divorcing Him, and it will be all His fault. Read more of this post

Understanding Trust Development: Learning to Feel Safe with a Monstrous God

189

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

You’ve submitted to God the best you know how, but He’s acting like a monster towards you.  Perhaps He has a long history of doing cruel things to you. Perhaps He has saddled you with some devastating struggle like pedophilia or sadism or an addiction which is totally messing up your ability to relate to other people and making your future feel hopelessly grim.  Perhaps He’s ripped away something or someone who you dearly loved.  And in the midst of all this, God says that you must learn to trust in His goodness.  Right.  How on earth are you supposed to do that in the middle of this hell? If God is so eager for you to view Him as good, why is He acting like such a creep?  Read more of this post

Understanding God’s Silence: Why He Withholds Affirmation

184

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Here’s an exasperating pattern which some of you are currently experiencing: when God is displeased with you He is very clear with His corrective convictions, but when it comes to expressing His pleasure with you He’s being deathly quiet.  It’s not that He can’t communicate His pleasure with you—it’s that He won’t.  And because God is being so tight-lipped, you naturally spend a lot of time anxiously fretting about your standing with Him.

God says that if we sincerely care about pleasing Him, then we can know for a fact that He is pleased with us.  We can understand this principle in our souls, but the lack of positive affirmation from God still leaves us squirming.  So what is God’s point in doing this?  Why is He so silent towards the souls who care most about Him? Read more of this post

Does God encourage us when we’re going through refinement?

115

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Spiritual refinement serves many purposes, but one of the primary goals is to deepen our trust in God.  For trust to grow strong, it must learn to hold its ground in the face of countering sensual feedback and upsetting circumstances.  This is where spiritual valleys or deserts come in.  During these periods, God intentionally puts us through experiences in which we feel bombarded with “evidence” that He doesn’t care about us and isn’t with us.   He then teaches us how to exercise trust in His goodness in the midst of these things, and the end result is that we find ourselves exponentially closer to Him when the refinement period is over. Read more of this post

The Purpose of Spiritual Deserts

60

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

God wants you to have a strong soul bond with Him—the kind that fills the core of your being with great joy and satisfaction. At some point, your soul recognized that He was calling you to pursue Him all out and you responded with great enthusiasm. You fully surrendered yourself into His hands and said something to the effect of, “Make me all that You want me to be, Lord. I want to be as close to You as I can.” But then, shortly after this exciting turning point in your life, it was as if God retreated to another universe. Now here you sit, year after year, wondering what went wrong. Read more of this post

Stonewalling an Ogre God: Recognizing the Errors in Our Logic

308

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

We shut down on God for two basic reasons: because we think that He’s rejected us, or because we’re rejecting Him. In this post, we’re dealing with the second motivation.

Our reasons for rejecting God boil down to a critical loss of confidence that He is truly for us in life. Once we believe that God is not really on our side, we believe that He is actually against us. Oh sure, we might say with our lips, “God loves me,” but inwardly we’re thinking, “Yeah, right.” If God loving us means that He’s going to continuously torment us, what good is it? This isn’t love, it’s sadistic abuse. If all we are to God is some object to torture, then why do we want anything to do with Him? If trusting Him means setting ourselves up for more pain, why do it? Read more of this post

Why God Isn’t Healing You (The Classroom Metaphor)

113

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

It doesn’t take long to figure out that God doesn’t pass out the help and healing at an even rate in this world. Ever meet that person who went through a similar or even worse trauma than you, only today they’re totally over it while you’re still stuck with life stopping scars? Ever go to counseling for years trying to work through your issues only to be surrounded by Christians who get the quick fix from Jesus? While some addicts are faithfully attending weekly support groups only to keep losing their grip on sobriety, others say one prayer and down comes the miracle cure. Those who are healed quickly love to go around talking about how great God is, while those who are never getting healed sit there feeling like members of God’s reject pile. If God keeps saying “not now” to all your requests for deliverance, how should you interpret the fact that He keeps withholding His favor from you? Isn’t that what God’s healing is supposed to be a sign of—His favor? This is what many misguided Christians will teach you to believe, but in reality their idea of Divine favor is a very shallow, fleshly thing. All they’re focused on is being comfortable in their earthsuits. When they get physical, emotional, and mental peace, they think they’ve won the grand prize. Well, they are wrong. God has far grander prizes that He wants to pass out and while many want you to think you’ve been bumped to the back of the line because God won’t free you up, from His perspective, there’s something very different going on. Read more of this post