The Dangers of Spiritual Highs

Cross in handHave you ever had a spiritual high? It’s all the rage in the teen circles nowadays. It usually starts with a really “Christian” event of some sort. You find a speaker, a song, or a verse that makes you feel extra “spiritual.” Then you post about it on your social media, talk about it with your friends, and enjoy the feeling of being a “super-Christian” for a while, because it’s considered really godly to get emotional about God. After a few days, however, it starts to wear off. You end up letting useless habits and harmful relationships back into your life, and you start looking for the next high a short while later. This endless cycle that so many “Christians” go through in today’s world is so detrimental to our growth, and needs to be disposed of. We need a revolution not of warm fuzzy feelings, but of clear, solid truth, rooted so deeply within our souls that a real, genuine love for God makes itself known in the way we live our daily lives.

Before I was saved, I was never the type to pursue spiritual highs. I didn’t care about looking spiritual. I was the kind of person who pursued ability more often than reputation. But I still knew about the kids who always talked about the latest conference or concert they went to, and all the righteous-sounding Christian phrases they used. I know what it’s like to feel spiritually awesome. I understand the appeal. That said, I also believe that far too often, a spiritual high is not something that glorifies Christ; it is something that glorifies our sinful souls.

When someone is on a spiritual high, they tend to act really humble. They do more nice things than normal, and they smile more than normal. They usually mention one or two Christian clichés in a typical conversation. They look pretty godly. But they lose this glimmer to themselves after a while. Sometimes it takes a few weeks, and sometimes it only takes a few days, but once it happens, they’re back to their old selves. Nothing really changed. It was all an emotional act to earn them a reputation as a “good person.”

On the other hand, there are people who are truly passionate for God. They love serving Him, and they love following His ways. Their natural attitude is one of love for everything that glorifies Jesus. They may have weaknesses, and they definitely don’t behave perfectly, but they really love God. They are genuinely excited about Him. The best part about these kinds of people is that this “season” of their life doesn’t end. They may get depressed at times and they may have struggles to face, but they know that they can stand firm in God, and that He is their strength.

Believe it or not, that first description was of a pretending unbeliever, and that second description was of any genuine Christian. In reality, only an unbeliever would turn his back on God after he got tired of feeling “spiritual.” A true Christian stands with his God, no matter the pain, no matter the cost. He doesn’t come to God to get an emotional refill every now and then. He knows that God is not there to serve him; he is there to serve God. It may not be fun at times. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s true, not what feels good.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in fickle emotion or vain reputation. Don’t buy that Christian book so you can tell your friends that you have it. Don’t go to that conference to feel good about yourself afterwards. Don’t help that person out so you’ll look like a nice guy. Don’t raise your hands in worship because everyone else is doing it. Only do what you are compelled to do out of genuine love for Christ. All else is vanity. Don’t try to produce joy in God by false, selfish methods. Bow before Him, realize your nothingness, and ask Him humbly that He would use you for His glory. Forsake displays of righteousness. Forsake fake attitudes. Forsake prideful actions. Be willing to be a nobody for God.

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” – 1 John 2:3-6

The cure to a false, put-on passion for Christ is humility and honesty. We can’t tell ourselves that we’re “on fire for God” if we know in our heart of hearts that we just want affirmation from our peers. We can’t pretend to get all emotional for God if we aren’t truly being convicted and changed. These things show that we are prideful in our seemingly humble attitude. What a weird paradox. But it’s true. It’s all too easy to become proud of our humbleness. It’s something that I struggle with. Please join me in trying to regain our honesty as Christians. Let’s throw our prideful displays of righteousness to the wind, and realize once again just how sinful we are and how much we need Christ to work mightily in us. Let’s forget about showing our friends all our modern Christian paraphernalia, and instead love the people in our circles who feel completely left out. Let’s stop putting on a pathetic parade of spirituality, and instead seek to do real, true work for Christ’s glory! This generation can change the world, but not through good looks; through the authentic power of God.

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1

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