When I was in high school—long, long ago—I had a youth pastor who warned us that the spiritual life wouldn’t always be easy. Sometimes we wouldn’t have the enthusiasm we had as teenagers. As a young, newly-committed Christian, I heard his warning, but I didn’t really listen. I thought I would always be on a spiritual “high.”
Ah, the naivety of youth.
Anyone who has been a disciple of Christ for any real length of time knows that the spiritual life can be hard. Having a life of prayer, regularly reading the Bible or other spiritual works, dying to self to serve others: these things don’t come naturally to most of us. Although we might experience bursts of spiritual enthusiasm from time to time, remaining motivated to maintain and improve our spiritual health is challenging. Many factors can influence our spiritual life: psychological factors, external influences, and the effects of Original Sin are a few that come to mind. But there’s one factor that I think is often overlooked, although it can have a great impact on our spiritual health: