Even the best in any area of participation will at some point suffer through a slump. Great baseball hitters might go hitless for a week or longer. A writer or a cartoonist find their creativity has hit a wall. Actors may endure a period of poor movies. Lawyers may see a reduction in clients. Parents often see their advice unheeded and unappreciated during the teen years. A slump is not only a decrease or decline in productivity but can be a period of ineffective performance combined with sinking spirits. In the secular arena one can sometimes remedy a slump by attending seminars, observing successful people or simply adopting new techniques and patience. As a last resort one might have to change careers to rid oneself of a slump.

In a Christian’s journey to eternity he or she will hit a down period in their spiritual walk (Jo 16:33) (Js 5:13). In our secular life it is possible that we have an adversary who is causing our slump but usually it is self-induced. There are many reasons for a spiritual slump including lack of focus, illness, selfishness or just plain laziness. However, we definitely have an enemy who continually attempts to thwart us in our efforts to love and serve Christ and our neighbors (Mt 13:39) (1 Pe 5:8) (Js 4:7). The Devil is our enemy and never seems to take a vacation from his desire to trap us and use us to do his will (2 Tim 2:26).

Our Lord Jesus did not leave us defenseless against Satan. He left us an example of resistance (Mt 4:1-11). After he had defeated Satan’s temptations, he said, “Away from me Satan!” Christians are well-equipped to banish slumps and Satan (Rom 8:28, 31, 34-39) (Eph 3:16). We have the tools of prayer (Js 5:13) and extending comfort to others (2 Cor 1:3-4). Unfortunately, a slump can metastasize into apathy and surrender if not treated. Jesus will not tolerate such an attitude in His Church (Rev 3:14-16).

—Jim Bailey