Tropical storms, tsunamis, storm surges, typhoons, hurricanes; waves the size of skyscrapers, all these would terrify sailors, but one phenomenon most people don’t think about is ‘no wind’.
Where does wind come from? It results from the sun heating the atmosphere and the rotation of the earth. There are places, however, around the equator where the solar radiation from the sun beams down directly. The heating causes the air to warm and rise straight up rather than blow horizontally. The result is little or no wind, sometimes for weeks on end. These are the doldrums, nothing terrifies sailors more than to be caught in them. With no wind to power your ship, it would strand you for weeks or months, you would easily run out of food and starve to death!
A pretty dark illustration for sure, but the Christian life is the same. Without the power of God driving regularly, you can end up stranded, unable to move. Taking up spiritual disciplines moves us from a lifeless and superficial to a real relationship with God.
This is what salvation is about! When Nicodemus asked Jesus how one enters the kingdom of God, He told him this:
5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:5–8 (NIVUK84)
You cannot see the wind, but you can see the effect. A spirit filled and led life is an obedient life, a Godly life, a Christlike life.
I’ve been in the doldrums and I’m sure you have too. I came to know the Lord as a teenager, but for a long time, I was not sure what to do next. My walk with God felt so irregular. It wasn’t until I was in University and shared my frustration with a friend that I came upon the Navigators. I cannot overstate how transforming it was for my faith. The Spiritual disciplines they taught me revitalized my faith. I felt the wind on my back; I knew what I needed to do and started to deeply enjoyed my walk with God.
What are they? Spiritual disciplines are personal and corporate habits of devotion designed for the believer to commune with God. It is driven by a desire to know, to hear and to see God. Moses expressed this desire when he asked God: “Now show me your glory.” Exodus 33:17. David expressed this in Psalm 27:4.
4 One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple
Donald S. Whitney put it this way: “Think of spiritual disciplines as the ways of placing ourselves in the path of God’s grace, we will find Him willing to have mercy on us. As we place ourselves in them to seek communion with Christ, His grace flows to us and we are changed.”
Disciplines are, therefore, the foundations of a fruitful life. It is the work we put in to raise our sails and set our ship so that we can catch the wind of the Spirit of God to drive us forward. They include habits like Bible reading, quiet time, journaling, Bible study, meditation, prayer, silence and solitude, fasting, evangelism, serving and many more.
So, this early in the year, make a run for it and escape the Doldrums! Start the exciting journey of seeking God and remember he has promised:
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12–13 (NIVUK84)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIVUK84)
God has committed himself to be accessible to anyone who seeks Him. If you need a roadmap to doing that, please check out our resources on our website or get in touch with us.
 The Holy Bible: New International Version—Anglicised (1984), electronic edition. (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1984), Ps 27:4.
Author : Bethuel Bissem
Bethuel serves with The Navigators Kenya, Students ministry.