Among the things I write about, by far my favorite subjects are those that deal with spiritual feelings. The past few weeks have been extremely transformative for me, spiritually. Not only transformative, but incomprehensibly revealing. God has showed me issues I was never aware of before, and has given me bite-size answers at such a slow, steady pace that it has been easy for me to digest.
Among those things, God has showed me that several of my previous articles have led up to this one. I have written about looking back on our past life, experiencing spiritual dryness, and having a trapped spirit. These revelations have led me to a lesson I personally consider to be absolutely amazing, at least in my own walk with God. So now I will write about being spiritually “Frozen”.
This article may be a bit lengthier, but I personally think it is worth the read. Break out your early morning coffee and a notepad and get comfy!
Have you ever felt like you are “stuck” spiritually? Like your relationship with God has somehow been severed? Some people feel like they’ve simply done too much wrong to be able to mend what they’ve broken. They feel they can’t take back the boundaries they’ve crossed, so they find themselves sitting in the same place, wondering what to do next. You end up just living life in this “frozen” position. Stuck where you are, wondering how you drifted off this far, wondering how to get back. You were doing great. You did everything you were supposed to, spiritually. But somehow you took just the right-wrong-turn and ended up down a road you don’t see the end of.
Let me first tell you that in my experience, and in those I have witnessed, this is often the climax of those three subjects I mentioned earlier combining. I’ll explain how.
One of my first articles I wrote on this site focused on the story of Lot’s wife. You can find the original article here, and I will only touch on a few of the points I made. What’s important right now is the new stuff I’ve been shown.
In Genesis 19, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were being destroyed by God. Fire rained down from heaven to consume them for their sins. These sins were beyond anything earth had ever seen before, which called God to make such a drastic move. Now, within the city were Lot (the nephew of Abraham) and his family. As a favor to Abraham, God delivers them from the cities and tells them to flee into the mountains and commands them that they should never look back on the cities of sin. However, Lot’s wife disobeys.
“But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26 NKJV)
Universally, teachers of this story agree that Lot’s wife was transfigured because she looked back on her past: her sins. While God was destroying them behind her, a part of her still longed to return to them. Thus, to keep that sin from spreading, God had to stop her where she was and transform her into a pillar of salt. Where she could have moved on, she chose to look back.
The process of being spiritually frozen sometimes begins with looking back. We might not even do it knowingly. But still there is some part of us that desires to do something we know isn’t right. Or we desire to engage in something that we put away when we got saved.
“As a dog returns to his vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
Here is what we must realize: looking back affects our state of heart. In the book of Exodus, when the plagues were striking Egypt, each time Pharaoh agreed to release the Israelites. However, just before going through with it, he would change his mind and go back, keeping them enslaved. The Bible says his heart became hardened, as stone. When we look back, our hearts begin to grow a bit tougher, in the negative sense. And a hard heart is absolutely terrible for us as Christians.
When your heart is hard, plagues will come. God can’t reason with someone who has a hard heart. He has to resort to more extreme measures of getting you to listen to Him. Problems might arise, difficulties pop up in your life that were intended to break that stone heart just a bit and bring you back to God, clinging to Him in your trouble. However, that’s where we mess up quite often. We are so gullible and so short-sighted that we don’t look past those problems as mechanisms of bringing us closer to God. But instead we take them in with an attitude of “the world is against me.” Our life becomes hard, we become depressed, miserable, etc. Life just seems hard to us and we don’t know why. Which brings us to the next part.
The Dry Spirit
I’m only going to briefly describe what a dry spirit is, but for a full understanding of what I’ve taught on it, the full article can be found here.
Spiritual dryness is the phenomenon wherein we lose our enthusiasm in life. It’s the lack of motivation, the lack of drive and power we feel in life. Anyone who has felt it will know what I’m talking about. It’s the feeling of moving emptily through time. And most especially it is the feeling of having a disconnection from God. It’s when things just don’t “click” with God. You just don’t “feel” Him like you used to.
In Ezekiel 37, the prophet Ezekiel is taken into the wilderness by God in a vision.
“1 The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord GOD, only You know.” (Ezekiel 37:1-3)
I pointed out in the previous article that it says that Ezekiel was placed “in the midst of the valley.” And scripture usually describes valleys as places of conflict and trouble. Then, it goes on to say there are dry bones in the valley. So we conclude that dryness takes place within the valley. Within the hardships of life, our spirits are dried up. We are so exhausted, so worn thin, we lose our spiritual stamina and our joy. Our relationship with God gets lost in our fretting over the battle, and we try to take on the chaos of life on our own. However, our bodies aren’t fit.
We begin to drift. The disconnection we feel from God during spiritual dryness discourages us from engaging with Him. So we begin to drift back to those old ways mentioned earlier. They become tastier and tastier to us as time lags on. Then, of course, traps emerge.
In “Trapped Spirit” I talked a lot about how the enemy manufactures spiritual traps–a.k.a. “snares.” Click here for the original article.
Temptation equals Trap. Burn that into your brain. Psalm 91 talks about how God will “deliver us from the snare of the fowler.” A fowler, being a type of bird hunter, would set snares to catch birds. Usually these traps were made of ropes and wires and would attempt to keep the bird tied to the ground. And as I pointed out before, Satan wants to tie you down because he knows you are capable of flight. Your potential is extremely dangerous to him and scares him to the core.
So, what are these “snares” exactly? Usually they come in the forms of sinful temptations. We try to relieve our pain and get our “fix” from all kinds of different things in life, rather than seeking a fix in God. I talked a lot about this in False Treasures, how the enemy will present you with something good-looking, but it inevitably will do you great harm. The snare itself serves to prevent you from growing in your relationship with God.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)
We become ensnared by temptation. It comes in the forms of drugs, alcohol, pornography, overeating, cursing, gossip, etc. Some are worse than others. But each of us has our thorn in the flesh (1 Corinthians 12:7). When we look back our heart hardens, then our spirit dries, and then we are easy prey for these traps. Our guard lets down and we become weak. We feed into these things much more easily than we would if we were right with God.
These particular styles of sin differ from most others. While all sins are addictive, usually lying is not that hard to get over. Usually disobeying parents is something easily fixed with a prayer. However, alcoholism and pornography are examples of sins much different. They are entanglements.
“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.” (2 Peter 2:20)
Entanglements are cycles of repeated sins. Repeated indulgences. They literally create addictions. They are endless cycles if left untreated. These cycles of sin create what we call bondage. Bondage is the sensation of being the victim to an addiction and suffering the misery, depression, and loneliness that are created from the shame of being a partaker of that sin. So we become addicted. Even as Christians. We fight to have a relationship with God, yet many of us battle these kinds of things in secret.
I could not tell you how many times I’ve had someone come to me, a good Christian, someone you’d never expect to have this kind of problem, saying, “Ethan! Help me, I’m addicted to x, y, and z. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been hiding it forever but I want to please God!”
So the end result is what I call being “Frozen.”
Being spiritually frozen means God has stopped blessing you. He has frozen you in your spot until you can learn what He’s trying to tell you. He keeps you stuck there in your same situation until you can realize that where you are is not where you could be. He allows you time to think, time to finally come to the realization that you’ve screwed up. But there is a solution in Christ.
You just sit there and wonder how you got this far. You wonder what you can do to fix this, but you just can’t find the answer. How do I fix my life? How do I get right with God again? How do I return to the light?
How do I look forward and not back? How do I feel alive again? How do I avoid the traps the enemy has set for me?
A Change of Heart
The process to renewal begins with a promise found in Ezekiel 36:25-27:
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
Remember earlier when I was talking about the heart of stone? We have to take this problem at its roots. The process of reversing where you are at begins with a change of heart. I want you to be completely real with yourself for a moment. Search your heart, search the deepest parts of you. Ask yourself, what do you want? Do you really want God? Or do you actually want some of those fleshly things, the drinking, porn, sex, drugs, etc? Be honest with yourself. What does the real you really want.
You may even find that your consciousness, you yourself, really want to please God. But there is still a part of you that wants the things of the world. Therefore, sin is still alive in you. We are called to be dead to sin and alive to Christ.
Romans 6 is absolutely crucial to understanding this. I am going to give you the whole chapter because it is that important. I have highlighted the parts I want you to truly understand and meditate on. Consider them, think about them, bring them into your heart.
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You must die to your sins. You cannot be two people at once. You can never please God for as long as you are in this state of mind. Even if you are not necessarily addicted, but tempted, or simply living in a “dead” and miserable state. Living without the joy of God can even be a sign that you haven’t given Him all of you, or laid down your sins in their entirety to Him.
But you have to break it down to what you want. It is your choice. I cannot make it for you. Your preacher cannot make it for you. Your parents, teachers, counselors, friends, or neighbors cannot make it for you. You need to decide what you want. Otherwise you are under bondage.
We use the word bondage because it implies you are captive. Enslaved. Dragged around and beaten. Which you are. You see, sin seeks to dominate you. It seeks to control you. That is why verse 12 says “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Because there is a struggle for power. The struggle for power over you, your mind, your body, and inevitably your soul.
” 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;” (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5)
Sin seeks to control you. It seeks to drive you away from God, to indulge in itself, and it seeks to corrupt you, even destroy you. Sin is masochistic, self-destructive, unwillingly brutal on whatever takes it on. But it seeks to dominate. It wants its way in you. But, as 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 says, you should have control over yourself, and not give the reigns of your body and your identity to sin.
Control what you want. It will keep you from falling into this.
And in many cases, you know that what you want is wrong. But the higher, wiser, godlier part of you wants something different. So you have to work on changing your innermost desires to fit God’s will.
Change your Want, Change your Heart
Firstly, you have to let go of stubbornness. I personally am perhaps the most stubborn person I’ve ever met. I’ve always struggled with authority throughout my life because I like to do things my way. It’s always been either my way or no way, it seems. This has even been true in my spiritual life, and I know it holds true for others. We have to step past the stony surface of our cold heart and say, “okay, God, I’m ready to obey. This has to be done your way, exactly how you want, or it can’t be done at all.” And to do this, it takes trust.
Surrender, then trust. And with trust, you have to really trust. We sometimes give God our problems, and we claim to trust Him with them, but yet we still kind of hold onto them. We turn around and try to figure them out on our own. We’re insecure about trusting someone else with our problem, even God. But I am here to tell you that if you can get yourself to give 100% of the things that bother you over to God, you will never regret it. If you can give your addiction to God, and then turn around and leave it with Him, you’ll find yourself feeling more alive quite instantly. It’s like a giant weight lifted off of your shoulders.
To change what you want you need to surrender, trust, and then finally reason and imagine. You need to argue with yourself the reasons why you should want to do good for God. You need to tell yourself the benefits, list all the reasons why you know it will work and why this is what God wants for you. Make a reason to change your want, your desire. Then, imagine how this will change you. Picture your future. Picture where God will take you. This will create hope, and hope is an extremely important ingredient to any spiritual endeavor. And hope, in return, creates a stronger faith.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
You must have faith that God will turn things around. You must tell yourself that even though you are fighting what seems like an endless battle, when you look back on it, it will look like a cat fight. Nothing more. And it is because God is God and He can handle anything under the sun.
If God parted the Red Sea, shut the mouths of lions, killed the giant, purified the globe with water, delivered the three men from the fiery furnace, cursed the serpent, walked on water, healed the leper, and even died, what makes you think He won’t also take this sin from you? What makes you think He won’t clean your heart? What makes you think He won’t do this for you? Has He not, by all of this, proved His love for you enough? Has He not brought you this far? Has He not endured the worst suffering known to man to save you from darkness?
Surrender, trust, reason, and imagine.
That is my recipe for changing your heart. Changing this will allow your desires to flow in the right direction. You won’t look back. You’ll look forward because your heart is pointing in the right direction. You have officially killed your sinful self, completely and fully this time. Though you allowed your old self to resurface, by this point you will have put it back in the grave.
So once you begin to look forward, the hardships I mentioned earlier may subside. Or not. But your eyes will be pointed to God, and as I said in Dry Spirit, if you seek God in the valley, you will have the strength to endure it. So your spirit is replenished. Then, you will be on your guard for those traps. You won’t fall so easily to those entanglements.
If you are suffering from an addiction, repent. Work and strive to change your mind, your heart, your body, to become something God-pleasing. God smiles when we make an effort to please Him. He loves to see that His love goes both ways. And the second you let Him know you want to fix this, He will be right there to help you out with it.
I strongly encourage you to read Psalm 51 in its entirety. But for now, I leave you with this:
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You. (Psalm 51:7-13)
Your breakthrough is just around the corner! I do not know your situation, but I know a God who can handle all. Pray, pray, pray. Lay it all down at the cross. Just like Abraham, in his faith, laid down Isaac on the altar. Read your Word, for it will sustain you and keep you going. Sing, praise, give thanks. And above all, love your God and love others as God has loved you.