Stagnant in Spirit: Zephaniah 1:12
“12) It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good or evil!’” Zephaniah‬ ‭1:12‬
I came upon this verse yesterday during my Old Testament reading. I immediately stopped and read it several times. It is so descriptive of what can happen to believers.
If we are not careful, we can become “stagnant in spirit.” Another translation uses the word “complacent.” We come to the place of going through the motions of life while being indifferent to seeking God. We are not alert to what He is doing around us.
Even worse, we don’t care. We shut Him out of our lives. We soon start living as if God is irrelevant to what is happening in the world. The concept of “God” might be tucked away in our subconsciousness, but we are in neutral.
As the rest of Zephaniah 1:12 says; “… Who say in their hearts, The Lord will not do good or evil.” Do you see the problem? They were living like agnostics. They reduced God to being uncaring, unloving and inactive.
This is a serious condition. Becoming “stagnant in spirit” or “complacent” means we go through the motions of life with very little thought or reliance on God. We live as if He doesn’t matter.
This can happen to people in ministry. Soon, we begin to trust in our talents or detailed programs more than in God. We fall into the daily grind of thoughtlessly cranking out ministry. We go through the motions of ministry, but fail to connect with God.
I believe this is what motivated Paul to write this second letter to Timothy. His fire was going out. He had lost the joy of his salvation and the sense of “awe” that should accompany an intimate walk with God in the fulness of the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 2:43)
Be honest with yourself, have you become “stagnant in spirit.” Has your inner fountain of living water become dried up? (John 4:10-14) Are there no more fountains of living water flowing from your innermost being? (John 7:38) Has your fire gone out?
This can happen for many reasons, but it is a serious condition. It’s time to slow down, clear your schedule and seek God. You are in need of personal revival. You need a fresh encounter with God! Embrace 2 Chronicles 7:14 and take corrective measures.
That’s exactly what Debby and I are doing this coming weekend. We are getting out of town and joining a few godly prayer warriors for a focused prayer summit. We have no schedule, no agenda and no meetings. Our sole desire is to seek God on His time table and listen to His Spirit. We are asking God to kindle a fresh spirit within us and our marriage. We are not even scheduling food or sleep. We simply want to meet with God and let Him be Lord of our time.
I suspect that’s what the leadership in the church of Antioch was doing in Acts 13:1-4. They cleared their schedules to seek God. They did not want to become stagnant in spirit. Earnestly seeking God; what a novel idea!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global