Why Spiritual Highs Do Not Last

Why does rededicating your life do so little in the way of rededicating?

Every year at Christian camps, conferences and other events, kids, teens and adults get fired up and often tearfully rededicate their lives, claim victory over pornography, over marital strife or anger, and resolve to give Christ their all. However, within months, weeks, sometimes even days, the resolve weakens and crumbles before the onslaught of the return to everyday life.

This past summer I was a camp counselor to eight boys. Most of them tearfully rededicated their life on a “decision night.” Afterward, I tried to stay in contact with them, asking them how I could pray for them. And I observed how the pattern repeated itself: Some fell back into old sins, others hadn’t read their Bible for a month. But thank God, next summer they will be back at camp and get it right this time…right?

Why do Christian events have a nearly miraculous ability to apparently free us from sin for a week, and more importantly why does it not last?

What Drives the Highs?

First, why does the atmosphere of Christian events seem to enable us to take steps in our spiritual life? What drives the “camp high”?

There can often be many factors that make these environments particularly impactful on us. Sometimes, it’s simply the highly emotional atmosphere of a conference or retreat, the moving music that’s played, the camaraderie and fellowship with fellow attendees, the prospect of being free from the negative effects of our sin.

But you don’t have to be a Christian to love any of these things. At one point in his ministry, Jesus himself rebuked a massive crowd of his own followers because they were “fired up” for reasons that had nothing to do with seeing his beauty or his glory—they just enjoyed seeing Jesus’s miracles (John 6:25–27).

So, if there is to be any lasting effect from these events and experiences, it must have at the bottom seeing and savoring Jesus Christ—and this is often what camps, conferences and events provide. Anything of true, durable worth from these experiences comes from seeing God clearly as he really is. This can come from sermons, or discussions, or singing in worship, or late night conversations, prayers and devotions.

When we see the light of the glory of Christ most clearly, the things of this world seem dim and worthless by comparison. Why have sin, good as it may look, when we can have Christ?

What Causes the Crash?

A house does not fall if its foundation is firm (Matthew 7:25). A tree does not wither when its roots are deep enough to reach water (Psalm 1:1–3). So, when the house of our spiritual life and our war against sin comes crumbling down or withers, we should ask ourselves, “Why?”

The answer is simple: We are not seeing God. If our sight of God and our worship is dependent on the conference center, or the high-energy sermons, or the packed crowd, or the worship band, our spiritual lives will fall apart again when these things are taken away. The house falls because the foundation is destroyed or, more accurately, because the foundation is weak.

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SOURCE: Church Leaders
James Beevers