When Spiritual Growth Becomes Debilitating

I’m up late tonight wrestling with some symptoms of a possible disease. I have been recognizing symptoms building, but this evening I realized it’s taking over me. I’m concerned for this disease makes living in America difficult, if not impossible. It makes day to day activities hard to enjoy. I’m worried.

I’m hesitant to share about myself, but I make this transparent post because I believe some of you face the same symptoms. And we need not be ashamed, but fully embrace the consequences of this hopefully continual progressive disease.

Oh, the disease, you ask?

Well, it’s one that I have sung about in an old hymn on many occasions. You’re probably familiar with its words,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

As I sung this in the past, I knew the concept told in the song should be true, theoretically Jesus outshines this world, but tonight I have recognized that to some degree the things of earth had grown strangely dim to me. I haven’t intentionally sought this, just somewhere along the way, things I once prized have grown dim, and it has me up late tonight.

Now I should be cheering for these symptoms point to what should be a spiritual accomplishment, but seems more like a debilitating sickness. You may look at the symptoms in your heart the same way.

It’s troubling, for due to a life change, my family doesn’t have our own home (we’re living with family while I launch a new ministry and write a book), we do not have guaranteed income, my wife who once was able to stay home with our children is no longer able to do so, and the road to some level of stability seems insurmountable; and, what’s weird is that I’m totally fine with it.

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We do need our own place, I need to provide security for my wife, but honestly, I could care less about looking at homes. This is crazy because usually my list of wants is a mile high. I actually just got sickened watching a couple hours of HGTV (and i usually like it). Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on one house for a family of four and multiple millions was spent on a home for a family of two, while in Somali 110 people died from starvation in the last 48 hours. And we see kids regularly in our school district who have only a couple pair of clothes, and their school lunch is their only meal that day.

I need to be interested though — we need a family home. I need to be scrambling to make money, but I’m frozen – consumed by the hope that others would see the greatness of God and a life with Him through my less than lucrative ministry.

There have been symptoms of this dim world thing, but I hadn’t put it all together. Symptoms like that I how that love to hunt and fish, and always have felt I needed the best equipment. Yet, now I don’t even want to flip through a Cabelas catalog or walk through Bass Pro Shops. I had this long bucket list of things I wanted to accomplish in life, but they have begun to feel irrelevant.

Again, this should be a spiritual victory — I’m sure I’ve preached that we all need to view life like this. But here I am up late upset that I’m not upset about not having certain things. I’m worried because I am not going to be able to survive in America with this “disease”. My wife isn’t gonna have the things I feel she deserves and I want to provide. I’m gonna turn my kids into weridos. I’m gonna screw them up. I must find a way to get my head out of the Jesus clouds and face reality, but when I think of the vastness of the eternity ahead it seems so foolish to store up things here (not to mention biblical).

I have been very reluctant to post this because I know it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn, but listen — I’m crap. I sin. I fail. I disobey God. I might wake up in the morning and start back coveting that cool black jeep for sale down the road or develop a major desire for a bass boat. But the reality behind that old hymn has happened to some degree in my life and it really it should in every Christian, but when it does America becomes a tough place to live. Our dim world mindset fits more with third world countries. This tension has pushed me to not embrace this “dim things of the world” outlook on life, and that may be the same for you.

I don’t know what you need to gather from this strange confession of mine, but I hope you realize the lyrics are true. Seek Jesus and the world will become strangely dim. The Scriptures are true — Jesus is the great treasure worth everything. He is the pearl of great price. If you seek Him long enough the things of the world WILL grow dim.

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My daughter left a flashlight turned on and laying on the floor when she left for school this morning. All day, I passed that flashlight and thought when I walked back,  I would turn it off. And all day I forgot, but each time I saw  the light had grown dimmer and dimmer. Tonight, when she wanted to use it to read in bed, the light had gone out.

Seek Jesus and the things of this world will fade like that flashlight, I promise.

And I encourage you to examine yourself. Are there symptoms of this debilitating disease?  Has it happened for you?

If not keep turning your eyes to Jesus.

And if so, don’t be upset like I may be, rather embrace the disease.



Please check out my new book Spiritual Prepper from WND Books


Jake McCandless

Jake McCandless is a pastor, author, and speaker for Prophecy Simplified from Arkansas. Through Prophecy Simplified Jake seeks to bridge end-time prophecy to everyday life in the lives of Christians across the country. His first book, Prepping for Our Spiritual Doomsday, releases spring of 2017 with WND Books. You can find more of Jake’s writings at his sites www.prophecysimplified.com and www.graytotebox.com, as well as, in regular columns for Almost an Author and the Baptist Press. Jake enjoys the outdoors, but more than anything he would rather be on a date with his wife Amanda or playing Barbie’s with his daughters Andrea and Addison.

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