If I don’t feel God, is he there?
Why you shouldn't trust your feelings... and what to rely on instead!
Written by Pati Robison.
QUESTION: I’M TRYING TO WALK WITH GOD, BUT I DON’T ALWAYS FEEL HIM THERE. HOW DO I START WALKING WITH HIM? IS HE THERE ANYWAY?
Although many conversion experiences come with much emotion in the process of recognising sin and the great godly sorrow produced in that recognition, our feelings do not always match up with our walk with God.
Emotions or feelings can be influenced by:
- the environment/circumstances
- lack of sleep
- blood sugar levels
- chemical imbalances in the body
- And much more!
In other words, feelings certainly cannot be trusted. Feelings rarely indicate foundational truth. In light of this, on what do we base our walk with a God we cannot see?
FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH #1: KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE AND BELIEVE IT REGARDLESS OF YOUR FEELINGS.
The emotions you felt when you came to know Christ enabled you to repent and turn from a life of sin. It is the kindness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). Yet we still live in this earthly body which is generally tossed to and fro
My first suggestion for a stable walk with God is that you know what you believe.
There are many courses such as the ALPHA course which will lead you through basic foundational biblical teaching.
The best way to know what you believe, though, is to read your Bible. Bible reading will ground you in your faith.
Set aside a time in your schedule to read God’s Word. Remember, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1). God’s word is living. It will change you! Ask Him to teach you as you read.
Developing the habit of reading will take time, so persevere. If you skip or forget a day, start over on the next day.
Each person will learn at a different level. If you are a slow reader, don’t expect to read 5 chapters a day. Even a few verses a day can be life changing. The point is to connect with the life-giving water of the Word of God.
FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH #2: JESUS IS LORD.
This sounds trite and cliché, but unless this is true in our lives, we won’t be able to “bear fruit” in the kingdom of God.
By the way, shouldn’t this be foundational truth #1? Here’s why I put it as #2: An attitude of surrendering to Christ’s lordship is an attitude of obedience to His Word. Thus reading His word brings you to the possibility Lordship.
But it’s your choice.
I’m definitely not talking about obeying emotions here. Jesus often equated love for Him with obeying His commands (John 14).
As you read God’s word you will be convicted in areas of your life which need to change. Obey those inclinations.
FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH #3: WORSHIP.
Another thing the Word of God will do in your life is inspire you to worship our great and awesome God. As we read of His sacrificial love for us, the soul responds with worship.
For you worship may be silence, or dancing, or singing or playing an instrument. It matters not the form. What matters is that the worship is directed toward the King of the Universe.
Worship is not about sounding good or looking good. It’s not about saying the right words. It’s not even about words. A heart of worship adores the object of its worship in every aspect.
Worship is inspired by God’s Spirit as we learn of His majesty and it extends to every area of life.
FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH #4: FELLOWSHIP.
We were created as a social species.
In Genesis we read that it is not good for man to be alone. Although this referred to a man, we can safely say, as we look further into Scripture, which instructs us in many ways to encourage and build one another up, that it’s not good for anyone to be alone.
Find a place where you can spend time with other believers and talk about the things of God.
FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH #5: HONESTY.
Without honesty, being with other believers can sometimes lead to a feeling of isolation. It is not uncommon for a Christian to think he/she is not as good/spiritual as others in the group. This can lead to a false front or a mask.
Then, when help is needed, this person who feels like a ‘lesser’ Christian is afraid to ask for fear of being judged.
Eliminate this right at the beginning by being transparently honest. If you admit to your failures, others will let their guard down. This can pave the way to deep and meaningful fellowship. Believe me, no one you know is perfect!!
Nor did the Lord intend for us all to be the same. It’s like Christians make up one body, and each individual Christian serves the purpose of different body parts.
Your gifts and purpose are somewhat different than those around you. Don’t covet your neighbor’s goods by comparing yourself with her! Be the best follower of Christ you can be with what you’ve been given and let others do the same.
FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH #6: TRUST.
God’s timing and my timing almost never coincide.
I’m usually in a rush to get to that perfect state of… I don’t even know what it is I’m speeding full steam ahead to!
Christ died to give you life. Trust Him. He is surely able to do it. You don’t need to worry if the feelings don’t match, or if your life is not as together as that super spiritual friend of yours. If God is for you, who can be against you??
Don’t compare yourself with others. He is able to accomplish what He has in store for you. Trust Him.
If you’re a teenager, the hormones associated with your youth are intimately connected with your feelings and emotions. Because of the hormonal surges during this time of life, your feelings cannot necessarily be trusted.
It is very normal and natural to swing from one emotion to another; hence, the extreme importance of basing your spiritual foundation and understanding on the Word of God and not on feelings.
Learn to identify and evaluate the things you feel and think. At times your feelings may match up with God’s Truth and at times they may not. Be sure you know the Truth. God’s Word is truth. It will set you FREE!