Undoubtedly if you have been in the faith very long you have have experienced dry periods in your walk with God. But, if your walk with God has become characterized by drought then something is wrong. If you have little affection for Jesus then something is not right. The common answer is that we should join a Bible Study, pray more, serve more, get in a small group, and the list goes on. But we know that the disciplines, on their own, are powerless to irrigate our dry souls, we need something much more to satiate our longings. We need to be captivated; we need to move from a marginalized faith to one that is impacting and fully engaged – and because we want to, not because we have to. CS Lewis’ quote from the Weight of Glory puts it this way: “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” Affection or desire is a crucial component to our faith; John Piper puts it this way: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” If you want to be truly filled and satisfied, then your life must be reflecting the glory of God – that is God’s created purpose and the way the universe works. There is no system or formula to produce affection or desire, it is by constantly reminding ourselves of God’s great love and mercy for us that our affections are stirred. The more we understand the gap between our holy sovereign Creator and us and that He was willing to bridge that gap, the more our worship and appreciation increases. This grace is the fuel for Christian growth.
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:21–23 ESV)
We were all alienated from God, dead, helpless, hopeless. Dead men can’t reach out, but because of His great love, He reached down. He has reconciled us (notice that we are passive) in order to present us as holy, blameless and above reproach before Him. This is possible because He did it, not because we contribute anything. It is imperative that we not shift our hope from the Gospel as we begin our sanctification process. Meditating upon these truths presses the Gospel deeper in to our souls and provides the fuel for sanctification because we become confident of this, “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 ESV).
Paul reminds them of who they were and what God did for them in Jesus. These are Christians that he is talking to. Remembering what God has done and continues to do has a way of redeeming our rejoicing. The Gospel does that, it reminds us of our complete inability and His complete ability. It reminds us of the great exchange, His righteousness for our unrighteousness. We brought nothing to the table, being spiritually bankrupt and we continue our relationship the same way – in utter dependance.