Recently, as I was at the urgent care for strep throat, I was shocked when the nurse told me I was extremely dehydrated. I did not feel thirsty. However, after two IV bags of fluids, I began feeling like a different person.
I believe that it is possible to become “dehydrated” in our spiritual lives without realizing it. In John 7:37-39, Jesus says, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” The living water referred to in this passage is the Holy Spirit. Later in John 15, Jesus discusses the importance of remaining in Him for spiritual maturity and development. Therefore, when we do not stay connected to Christ, we experience a spiritual drain. Here are five signs that you may be experiencing spiritual dehydration in your own life.
1. Use of bad language
One of the symptoms of physical dehydration is bad breath. Similarly, I think one characteristic of a lack of living water in someone’s life is unwholesome talk. Luke 6:45 states, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (ESV). When we are lacking spiritually, our speech lacks intentionality.
2. Lack of service
When someone suffers from dehydration, they often experience fatigue. In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul’s prayer to the Philippians emphasizes the overflow of love that comes because of their growth in Christ. When we feel spiritually drained, our service is often affected.
3. Easily angered
Lack of an adequate amount of water in someone’s body causes their body temperature to overheat. When we are spiritually dehydrated, a possible symptom is a quick temper (Galatians 5:20).
4. Lack of self-control
One of the extreme symptoms of physical dehydration is muscle spasms. When a person experiences this symptom, their muscles involuntarily contract and cause pain. Likewise, when we experience spiritual dehydration and do not allow the Spirit to control our lives, we lose control over our flesh and allow sin to creep into our lives (Galatians 5:23).
5. Unwise choices
When someone suffers from dehydration, they can sometimes experience light-headedness. A spiritual equivalent can be making unwise choices. I find that when I am not engaged in my relationship with Christ, my decision-making ability suffers. Proverbs 18:1-3 illustrates the destruction of foolishness.
How to Recover from Spiritual Dehydration
When someone suffers from physical dehydration, it is critical that they receive fluids to rehydrate as quickly as possible. However, how do we recover from spiritual dehydration? Jesus calls the spiritually thirsty to come to him. He asks those who are weak, worn, broken, and in need to come to Him just as they are. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 1 Peter 5:7 instructs us to cast all our anxiety upon the Lord because He cares for us. Considering these verses, I believe that there are several steps we can take when faced with spiritual dehydration.
Come – Jesus wants us to come to Him when we are weary and broken. He does not want us to get our lives back on track before we approach Him. When Jesus ministered on earth, He affected change and then asked that they continue to walk in forgiveness. A perfect life was not a prerequisite to forgiveness.
Drink – Jesus offers us living water through His Word and His Spirit. However, it is up to us to go to the well and drink of the water. There is the saying that states that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink. The same is true for a person’s spiritual walk. Despite others encouragement, it is ultimately up to the one who thirsts to drink from what God offers. As believers, we must continue to remain in relationship with God through prayer, Scripture, worship, service, and fellowship with other Christians.
Rest – So many times, I think Christians try to earn their way into God’s favor by working as hard as they possibly can. However, Jesus reminds us that we can simply rest in Him. Spiritual renewal is often found through learning to be still and recognizing God’s presence in our lives. Brother Lawrence in The Practice of the Presence of God states, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” These are powerful words of encouragement.
Trade – Jesus came to earth to trade our sins and sorrows for His glory and grace. Ultimate spiritual renewal is found when we can cast our burdens at the foot of the cross. The resurrection gives us hope that through Christ, we can be more than conquerors. Though the initial step of faith may seem difficult, the freedom and life gained is well worth the trade.
God’s desire for His children is that we have abundant life. In this life, it is easy for us to become spiritually lacking in zeal. Yet, through God’s grace, we can be renewed by coming to Christ, resting in God’s grace, engaging in spiritual disciplines, and trading our sin and sorrow for God’s glory and grace.
Cortney Whiting is a wife and mother of two wonderfully energetic children. She received her Masters of Theology Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving in the church for nearly 15 years, Cortney currently serves as a lay-leader and writes for various Christian ministries. You can find her at www.unveilinggraces.blogspot.