Anonymous asked: I am a Christian teenager, who had a burning faith a few months ago. But now? I don’t feel it. I can now go a day without any word of God that serves as my weapon; I can now find an excuse for me not to go to church (and I don’t feel any guilt anymore). What should I do? I feel really far from God. I am praying for this, but I think my faith isn’t sufficient. Thanks, Unka.
Unka Glen answered: I think to get a handle on this, we need to see what our emotions are doing.
In lots of churches, and ministries, and even Christian music concerts, the drama is so high, and the constant attempt to ramp up emotions is so relentless, that I end up walking away feeling exhausted.
What’s funny is I always hear the same thing in those places: “hey everybody, remember, this isn’t all about emotion!” And I sit there thinking, reeeheeely? But the truth is, they mean what they say, they don’t want it to be all about emotion, they’re just using emotion as a way to get ministry done.
The problem is, that by manipulating emotions in this way, they’re teaching you to build emotion into your walk with God. As you said in your message:
- You don’t FEEL the BURNING faith
- You don’t FEEL the guilt any more
- You FEEL far from God
Understand, your emotions are valid and important, and I’m certainly not trying to dismiss your feelings in any way, I’m just saying, that when you’re building your house on the rock, emotions are useless as building materials.
Here are a few reasons why:
Emotions cloud. When you think about emotions and your walk with God, I want you to think of a massive fog bank, clouding everything, and there’s you trying to navigate through it all. You can’t feel your way along, you have to see where you’re going.
Emotions lie. Emotions have a way of getting you totally convinced of something that is also totally not true. It’ll FEEL true, but fear and guilt and shame point you far away from God’s truth, every time.
Emotions change. Take any emotion and try having that emotion for, say, three days in a row. You can’t, because emotions keep on changing. Sadness changes into anger, anger turns into bitterness, bitterness into self-loathing, and on and on. You can’t build your walk around something that slippery and unreliable.
In the end, your goal is to build your entire walk on your relationship with God Himself. Then you can read the Bible simply because you like it. You can go to church or pray or whatever because you’re following the Godly virtue of joy, not the intoxicating emotionality of “burning” faith.
From here forward, make everything in your Christian life a “get to”, not a “have to”. You get to speak with God, you get to read His word, you get to fellowship. This will dismiss the emotions of fear, shame and guilt; and replace them with the Godly virtues of joy, love, hope, peace, and real faith.