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10 September, 2013
Excerpt from the book: How To Live A Holy Life by Charles Ebert Orr, (1844-1913)
.....Spiritual dryness is sometimes the result of attachment to the world. "Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth." Unless we live by the Bible - we cannot be spiritual. A little affection for the things of earth, robs the soul of spiritual life. In this matter, Satan is an excellent reasoner. He will suggest that your desires are only for the glory of God; that you have no affection for the worldly object - but desire it only for God's glory.
A young lady to whom I gave warning, said that her desires were pure and that she had no affection for the object - but sought only to please the Lord. Very soon, however, she came to the realization that her soul was a desert place, and all because she had believed the falsehood of Satan. Beware how you desire earthly things - for God's glory. Underneath may be a desire for self-gratification, ease, or luxury. If you are troubled by a lack of sensible devotion in worship, examine your affections. Possibly you may find some tiny roots of worldliness entwining around something of this world.
Spiritual dryness may be the result of sloth. "Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep." Proverbs 19:15. Spiritual idleness soon results in spiritual dryness. That sophism of Satan's, "No time for prayer," is very dangerous. Any neglect of spiritual devotion, must result in lukewarmness. Oh, how unreasonable is man, and how easily the desires of the flesh deceive! If you neglected to water your garden, you would not wonder for a moment why it was drying up. Then, when you are neglecting to water the soul in vigorous, spiritual exercises, why do you wonder at your being so spiritually dull? "Awake, you who sleep!" Up and away to the hill of the Lord!
Be the frequent witness of a sunrise scene, from the mount of prayer. If your spiritual fruit is not as beautiful, well-flavored, and fully developed as it should be - then look for the presence of sloth in the soul. The poison of sloth will get into the soul little by little. First there will be a momentary delay of spiritual duties. Satan is too wise to suggest an entire abandonment of them - but he will suggest a little postponement. One delay will soon be followed by another and then by another. These delays are an opiate that dulls the spiritual senses, and thus they will yield more readily to postponements and finally find pleasure in them.
Let me make this still more simple, for some may need it made very easy to understand. When the soul is like a well-watered garden - it will be drawn to God in prayer in the early morning. Any delay will cause uneasiness and restlessness. The soul longs to hasten away to the presence of God. But one little delay after another, brings on a morbid condition. The soul loses its keen relish; its senses become deadened, so that there is no uneasiness in the dryness; while the senses of the self-life will find pleasure in sloth.
When the soul once gets into the habit of idleness, it experiences great difficulty in getting out. On becoming aware of his state, the individual may acknowledge his inactivity and make half-formed resolves to be more earnest and diligent, only very soon to relapse into the same former sluggishness. This virus of sloth infects the entire spiritual being, poisoning the will and making spiritual activity most disagreeable. Not only does it destroy the will of the soul - but it blindfolds the eyes so that the individual can see no necessity for great fervency in spirit or for diligence in spiritual devotion. In a half-dazed manner, he acknowledges that the "watchings often" and "fastings often" and "praying always" of the apostle Paul were very consistent for Paul - but does not realize that such would be as desirable in his own Christian profession. He wonders why he is so spiritually dry. Why wonder? He does not wonder why the flowers wither when it does not rain. It is the fervent, earnest prayer - which God hears.
Nothing but the greatest diligence and determination and strong laying hold upon God - will ever put spiritual sloth to death. In this respect, it is like the South American animal called the 'sloth'. Though one species of the sloth is only the size of a cat, and is extremely slow on the ground, its highest rate of speed there being not more than ten feet an hour - yet it is difficult to exterminate.....