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How to love God when you don’t feel like it

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It’s often called being ‘spiritually dry’ – periods in your life as a Christian when you don’t really feel like one. It can be caused by unrepentant sin, harmful (or lack of genuine) relationships, lack of regular devotion and prayer or ministry burnout.

You may go to church and even be a leader, but you can go for months without really being ‘on fire’ for Jesus. Just going through the motions, lacking real intimacy with God.

Might I suggest that the biblical way to get out of this spiritual wasteland of weary apathy isn’t necessarily a dramatic ‘rededicate your life to Christ’ moment. It is rather a day by day, week by week pattern of submission.

These tips won’t work for everyone, but I pray they help you worship God better every moment of your life, especially when you don’t feel like it.

 

1. Admit it

You’ve heard it said that there’s no point in hiding the truth. Well it’s especially true between you and God, for he already knows what you’re going through even before you even realise you’re in the pits.

Just like your relationship with a loved one, pretending like your relationship with God is OK never helps. Admitting that you feel far away from God isn’t itself sinful, but rather declares that you need God to strengthen your faith and bring you back.

While you may indeed have union with Christ, it is possible not to have communion with him. Admit that to God, and admit it to others so that they can be praying for you and encouraging you.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:8.

Admitting your state says: “In all honesty, I don’t feel like loving God right now. I actually just feel really empty and I need to have my mind and heart renewed.”

 

2. Remember the beauty of God

As busy people, it’s so easy for us to forget God’s splendour and majesty that we saw when first coming to faith. Which truths do you need to be reminded of?

God is perfect, righteous, compassionate, infallible, creative, incorruptible, powerful and holy. He is the breath of life, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the Lord of all creation, the intimate and personal friend. He transcends time and space yet is sovereign over every tiny atom, and he is superior to everything you will see today, this week, this year and the rest of eternity.

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” . – Isaiah 6:5.

Remembering God’s beauty says: “Thank you for creating and running every part of the world. How could I have forgotten all these reasons to be joyful?”

 

3. Hate your sin

When you contrast the holiness of God with the wretchedness of your life, it’s only natural to feel uneasy. You are allowed to hate what is deserving of hate in God’s eyes. Ask God to help you despise your own sin and realise that they are obstacles to loving God.

Hating sin is the beginning of changing and becoming a joyful Christian again. Do not be content with the sinful thoughts, words and deeds in your life.

Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. – Romans 12:9.

Hating your sin says: “I think what’s stopping me from loving God is the fact that I am a sinner and I have been disobeying in this area. God, forgive me and help me to hate sin like you do.”

 

4. Receive Christ

Just as Jesus has come to bring salvation to the lost, He is able and willing to bring revival to your heart and restore your relationship with God to a good and healthy place.

Many people would say that to receive Christ you need to read your bible and pray. What I think many people miss today, however, is the importance of the church’s means of grace. When Jesus left and promised to return, He knew that we would feel spiritually dry, to say the least. And so he ordained that the following means of grace would refresh and rebuke us: the word of God preached, the Lord’s supper shared, and the baptism of the Spirit visualised.

Don’t forget the importance of sitting under good preaching as well as remembering Christ’s gruesome death and experiencing the results of His glorious resurrection.

 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6-7.

Receiving Christ says: “Jesus, don’t just be my saviour. Be my Lord.”

 

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