5 Ways to Respond to Spiritual Decline

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Over the nearly 50 years I’ve been in the church, I have seen many and varied responses by Christians who witness spiritual decline around them.

Whether it be spiritual decline in their family, their Christian community, their church, churches in their community or mega churches, or in their country overall.

Many times their response is cynical, critical, and judgmental.

Sometimes their response is to mock the way the person or church is continuing to put up a godly front, while those around them can see the obvious spiritual decline happening in their life.

But every once in a while I see a genuinely godly response, and it touches me deeply because I know that it is exactly how Jesus would respond.

5 Ways to Respond to Spiritual Decline

In our Good Morning Girls study through the book of 2 Chronicles, we have come to the life of Jehoshaphat.

Whenever anyone mentions King Jehoshaphat, we immediately think of the glorious victory that happened for him, when they showed up to a battle they didn’t even need to fight.

And they won!

What many don’t know about Jehoshaphat was that despite his great faith and even obedience to God, he made a fatal error.

Last week, in 2 Chronicles 18, we read how Jehoshaphat made an unwise alliance with the wicked King Ahab by allowing his son to marry Ahab’s daughter.

This compromise would cost him, and cost his family for a few generations.

It contributed to a massive spiritual decline in the land of Judah.

In chapter 21, his son’s reign was short and brutal; and his death was unmourned.

In chapter 22, Joash’s life was miraculously saved, and while his life and reign began well, he ended horribly.

By the time we get to chapter 24, King Joash has become so apostate that he orders the death of the prophet Zechariah God had sent to call the land of Judah back to the Lord.

How we respond when we see spiritual decline is crucially important.

No matter where you live around the world, you simply need to look around you for a moment to witness the results of spiritual decline.

We know this is so, because Jesus said it would be so in the last days.

Christian leaders and pastors are creating alliances with the enemy for political purposes; Christians are distracted by entertainment and inviting darkness in their lives.

Decades of unchecked, worldly narratives have shaped our worldview to the point that we can’t accept clear, biblical directives commanding us to reject sexual immorality and remain pure until marriage, to reject profanity, and to have nothing to do with witchcraft and sorcery.

So we in our churches we see fornication and adultery at the same rate as the world.

A vast number Christians and regular church goers use profanity on a semi-regular basis, and see nothing wrong with it.

We have many believers who love the Harry Potter books and movies, enjoy movies and books that portray witchcraft and sorcery, and who practice Eastern meditation, yoga, and other rituals that are directly tied to false religions.

40-50 years ago, this was the exception in the church, today it is the norm.

So how should we respond?

1. Be sincere about your own spiritual state

Before we can even begin discern someone else’s spiritual condition, we must first stand before the holy mirror of God’s Word and take a long, hard look at our own spiritual condition.

To observe and discern someone else’s spiritual condition before first allowing the light of God’s Word to shine on your own state is like what Jesus said: Trying to see around the 2×4 in your eye to remove a splinter from someone else’s eye.

2. Adjust any areas of compromise and darkness in your life

Compromise and sin that is left undealt with will only lead us down the same path that Jehoshaphat and Joash traveled.

We’ll start well, but we’ll end horribly.

And that’s not all. Our compromise and unchecked sin infects the lives of our children and their children, and on down through generations.

One person wisely said, “What parents do in moderation, their children will do in excess”.

I have witnessed this many times over, because what we let slip signals to our children a stamp of approval we may have not intended to give.

Our apathy in dealing with unchecked sin and compromise was a passive stamp of approval for them to go all in.

3. Check any areas of pride

For many Christians who witness spiritual decline in those around them, the log in their own eye is a log of pride.

It is very easy to forget that any area of righteousness in our own life has nothing to do with us; on our own we are wicked and rotten to our very core.

Any righteousness we possess is God’s righteousness that by his grace he has granted to us.

We can take no credit for that, but we can defile it by trying to .

Let us not forget that Satan was cast out of heaven for the sin of pride. It is one of the very worst sins of mankind, and oh so sneaky!

4. Be prepared to fast and pray

Once we have allowed God’s Word to inspect our hearts, root out any compromise or unchecked sin, and deal with any area of pride, God may choose to use us in intercession and prayer.

Many times this includes seasons of fasting and prayer.

During this time, we should allow our hearts to be broken, just as his heart is broken.

This will require a sacrifice on our part in time, abstaining from food for a season, and even emotional energy.

But it is God who will sustain us!

5. Never give up

When we see the spiritual decline of those around us and our hearts are broken and yearning for their repentance and return to the Lord, it may require perseverance on our part.

Remember how Daniel prayed 40 days for an answer to prayer?

If you remember that story, you’ll recall that the angel Michael came to him and said that the answer from the Lord tarried because he had encountered resistance in bringing the answer.

The enemy doesn’t want God’s people living and walking in spiritual victory and maturity!

He will do everything he can to prevent that from happening, including discouraging God’s people from effectively praying and interceding for those who are struggling and walking away.

We must purpose to stand our ground, stand strong, and never give up.

Dear sister, we are living in the final moments of the last days before Jesus’ return.

Just reading news’ headlines reveals that, as they echo the sign markers God gave us in his Word to discern the closeness of Christ’s return.

One of the things we can count on is that it won’t be easy to stand strong, stand for truth, and not grow discouraged and cynical as we watch those around us cave in.

We can’t afford that.

Stay soft and pliable in God’s hands.

Keep a tender heart before him at all times.

Purpose to keep a pure heart free from compromise.

And continue to be a vessel of great honor in the holy hands of our wonderful Heavenly Father.

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