Faith versus feelings

Straight Talk

The Question:

I really need Jesus in my life and I do not know how to get close to him. How do I know he is listening when I pray or talk to him? I have no feeling whatsoever. What am I doing wrong? I am starting to have doubts and I don’t want that. I really need him; am I praying wrong?

Frank from Woodbridge

The Answer
Part 1: Feelings follow faith
Part 2: Can’t there ever be feelings?

Feelings follow faith (Part 1)

What you are going through is more common than you think. Most Christians struggle with faith versus feelings at various times along the way. I know it is hard while you are in the middle of it but God wants you to see your relationship with him from a “faith” viewpoint first; before a “feeling” viewpoint. God’s Word says; “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Let me share a small portion of my own story to tell you how I learned this early on. I came to Christ in deep crisis – a time when I was completely emotionally strung out. Over the phone, my cousin helped me understand how to ask Jesus into my heart and after I got off the phone I sat on my bed and did it all just the way he told me to. I expected something to change but I didn’t feel a thing. I figured it didn’t take.

After a few days I called back and my cousin’s wife got on the phone. She asked me if I had yet asked the Lord to come into my life. “Yes” I said, “but nothing happened; I don’t feel any different.” “Oh Barbara” she replied, “If you asked him to come in, HE’S ALREADY THERE.”

The light went on. That was my introduction to the world of faith. So then I knew it didn’t matter whether I felt anything or not; it was true based on God’s Word and his promises being true.

Now for you I say something similar. How do you know he is listening? “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) How do you get close to him? “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone (aren’t you an anyone?) hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

The more you get the Word of God deep into your heart, the easier it will be to stand in faith for those times when you have no feeling; those times when doubts come crouching at your door.

Can’t there ever be feelings? (Part 2)

If God is working with you right now to develop your faith life (and I believe he is); will the time ever come when you will feel his presence and have great assurance? YES! Trust him now and look forward to a rich life of faith AND feelings.

There are those who stick their nose in the air at anyone who wants to sense God’s presence or feel his closeness. They seem to think you are somehow spiritually inferior if you long to “feel” things. Yet, God created us with emotions and there is a proper fulfilling of that part of us too.

Think how terrible it would be if parents were never allowed to hold and hug and tickle and smile at their children for fear they would get too dependant on it. I never hear anybody complain that we shouldn’t scream and cheer when out favorite football team makes a touchdown. Feelings for God are certainly more appropriate than for any other human activity. God should elicit our loudest most enthusiastic cheer!

Are you praying wrong? I’m sure you’re not. Keep at it whether you feel anything or not. Begin to thank God that he hears every prayer and that he is close to you as he listens intently to all you have to say. Trust that because it is the truth. Tell the Lord you long to walk in deep intimacy with him. Believe me; the answer to that is a sure thing.