I once had a mountain top experience at a fall retreat with my church. We spent the entire weekend studying the Bible and worshiping God together. The presence of the Holy Spirit was thick during the praise time. I felt joy as I opened the door for friends and helped clean up after meals.
My drive home was a spiritual high. I was ready to tackle the world and spread the love of Christ. Then I went to work on Monday and tried to keep the momentum going. By Tuesday, the daily grind consumed my thoughts and actions. It seemed that my high got left behind at the retreat.
Why wasn’t it easier to take God with me into the office? What changed?
First, my days weren’t bookended with deep spiritual time with the Lord. Sure, I was reading a psalm in the morning to implant some truth, but I wasn’t meditating on it like I had on the weekend away in the mountains.
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
I let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly by applying Scripture and using it in my life and with other believers. I should enjoy the Bible like a decadent dessert, instead of rushing through it like a bowlful of broccoli to get my greens. Just skimming a psalm wouldn’t pour a day’s worth of spiritual nourishment into my soul. Delighting in the Word and deciding how the truth changes me make the verses last longer and the day seem less heavy. I needed to choose to love God more than my snooze button.
Another key part of keeping the Holy Spirit active is being part of Christian community. The same verse tells us to teach and admonish each other in the Lord. This teaching sinks the truths deeper into our hearts because we apply the word in our lives in a group, thus breeding accountability and fellowship.
Too many times, I just want to hear encouragement, and don’t want to focus on where I need to grow. However, in the safe space of Christian friendship, I can give and receive feedback that convicts me of my sin and points me to truths in God’s word to help me overcome. Service is more than washing dishes, it encompasses speaking the truth in love to help keep one from the error of their ways.
Colossians 3:16 also talks about singing praise to God. When we sing, we release stress, fight depression, and boost our immune systems. Praising with other believers strengthens our connection with them because of the endorphins that are released when we when we sing together to bond us together in Christ. When we glorify God with our mouths, it nourishes us spiritually because we are appointing praise in the right direction, upward and not inward to self. We had worshiped with hearty voices that weekend, and I needed to keep the praise going at home.
While I can’t go on a spiritual retreat every weekend, when I meditate on God’s Word daily, maintain godly friendships throughout the week, and worship with believers at church on Sundays, I can keep that mountain top experience going even after I return home.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over twenty years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people grow in Christ. Joanna enjoys coffee and reading, and currently lives in Florida.