A proud spirit is such a dream-like condition. It prevents forward motion by providing a shift in focus. I’ve found myself in such a state before. I thought I was dressed and ready for what God wanted from me, only to find that shoes and busy feet do not replace appropriate spiritual attire. Doing great things is not a substitute for being clothed in God’s righteousness and pulling up to His table. Pride caused me to miss many spiritual meals until I discovered that doing for the sake of doing left me naked and cold. Works of the flesh, rooted in pride, will never take the place of intimacy with God. Nothing can satisfy like knowing Him and loving him, listening to Him and heeding His instruction.
In the sleep land of pride, others become the enemy. I’ve scrutinized people through binoculars of criticism and judgement. Perfectionism, with its impossible standards that neither I nor anyone else could meet became the measuring stick. I’d get on a religious cycle of endless effort and work, work, work in order to earn, earn, earn. But my tests were never taken, and my spiritual classes could not be passed as I lay in the bed beneath the covers of self-preservation, those layers that perfectionism uses to self-protect.
I’ve proudly built monuments to people, places, and things. Doing so seemed so righteous. “The best church. The best pastor. The best music. The best kids’ programs…” sounded so holy—except along the way, “The Best God” had to slip off the throne of lordship into the shadow of my misplaced enthusiasm. Instead of full-on communing with my Lord, experiencing God’s presence, or delving into His word, the part people played in the Kingdom divided my attention. What they contributed was wonderful, needful, orchestrated by God, but pride put interaction with God alongside those contributions and settled for being entertained by them instead. Pride in the driver’s seat added pressure to the people I’d promoted. When I elevated them above their humanity, then I imposed upon them the responsibilities of God. They needed to—you guessed it—be perfect. Removing them from the pedestal created by pride’s dream world gave them freedom to fail and to be forgiven. It awakened me to my own need of forgiveness and put into motion God’s refining process in me.
Pride is just one of Satan’s slumber lands. Others are more external temptations with the hypnotic ability to numb us to the things of God, but most often, deep dozing is internal. This kind of sleep sneaks in when the alarm to awaken out of slumber is ignored. It spins images of spiritual success. It comforts and is easy to snuggle into.
Thankfully, God graciously calls out to awaken us. Our hearts may pound with the jolt of His voice, and when we see we haven’t arrived like we thought we had, we may feel frustrated to start anew. But only when we are awakened can we submit to the process needful for our spiritual transfer to places of greater growth and service. We need to be dressed in robes of His righteousness. We need to feast upon His precepts. We need to gather the lessons we’ve already learned. These steps prepare us for movement. Ready for the new thing, we go outside of our comfort zones. We leave dream worlds far behind and move to the reality where the Spirit longs for us to be.
Tip/Tidbit: Have you ever found yourself spiritually asleep? What made you realize you were not as mindful of God as you needed to be? Today, recommit to the process of reconnecting with Him, and watch as God grows your spiritual understanding and your depth of relationship.