Why can’t I feel my faith?

Image
There is more than just one level to us.

If you’re asking this question, I’d like to offer some help.  This is a great desire, one that God honors.  Here are four general thoughts.  If you have a Bible handy, open up to Psalm 95, as I’ll be referring to it.

First, don’t just depend on your feelings.  Remember, you are way more complex than just feelings.  Learn to depend on Scripture, which honestly believes in the reality of God, even when we can’t.  “For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (3).

Second, you need to recognize how incredibly complex you are.  You are more than just a body, though you are not less.  You are a body, mind, and spirit.  You are physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.  This is crucial to our understanding of how to “feel your faith,” and here’s why.  Let’s say that I come to you and complain, “My house is boring; it doesn’t seem all that special to me.  It feels like I’m missing out; there must be more!”  Patiently, you look at me and ask, “Have you gone to all the levels of your house?”  I respond, “No.  I have only gone into the kitchen on the first floor.”  You then proceed to tell me that in order to “get the most” out of my house, I have to go on all the floors and into all the rooms.

If that’s true for a home, how much more true is it of our beings?  There is more than just one level to us.  Until we take our faith into every floor and every room in our lives, we’ll be missing out.  We cannot shut God out of any corner of it.  The Psalmist shows us—even commands us—what it’s like to take your faith to all levels of your life.  He calls us to physical actions: singing, going, making noise, and bowing down.  He calls us to intellectual actions: thinking about the greatness of our God, remembering the works that he has done, pondering a warning for disobedience.  He calls us to emotional actions: singing with joy, allowing our hearts to be melted, and fearing the consequences of sin.

In order to feel your faith, you have to feed yourself physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.  Sometimes, it’ll feel like your faith is suffering in one or more of these areas.  That’s when you’ve got to depend on the other areas to carry you through.  When your emotions are down, then seek help from physical and/or intellectual actions.  When your intellect is down, then seek help from emotional and/or physical actions, and so forth.

Third, when you can’t feel your faith, then feel someone else’s faith.  Notice that the Psalm is written in the plural.  “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” (1).  While it’s possible and necessary to seek God in private, it’s both possible and necessary to seek him with others.  In fact, biblically, it’s essential.  You cannot have a robust faith if you do not worship with others.  When you cannot feel your own faith, then feel someone else’s faith.  Put yourself around someone whose faith seems to be alive.  Listen to what God is doing in their life.  Allow yourself to be inspired by them.  Believe me, one day they will need to be inspired by you.

Finally, you must learn to employ all of your troops in this battle.  Just as no commander would go out into battle with only one division, but would use his ground, air, and water troops, so must we use every soldier under our command.  The question itself betrays a deadly assumption: “Why can’t I feel my faith?”  It assumes that feeling is all there is to it.  Why not instead say, “Why can’t I think about my faith?” or “Why can’t I act upon my faith?”  We cannot get caught up on feeling, for it will come and go.  While you can’t always feel your faith, you surely can put deep thought into it.  And you surely can act upon it, doing what “pure religion” (James 1:27) asks of you.  While you’re busy not feeling your faith, you can be thinking about it (mind) and acting on it (body).

Don’t trust yourself, trust God.  Submit all of yourself to God, not just certain levels of yourself.  Instead of being envious of others for their faith, be fed by their faith.

© Samuel Kee, 2012