What To Do When You Feel Far From God
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall…”
Ephesians 2:13, 14
Do you ever feel like a Christian who is far from God? Man, I sure did. It was a constant feeling of dread:
“Am I doing this right? I don’t think I am.”
“Oh no, I messed up. God is going to be so mad. I better make up for this tomorrow so He doesn’t punish me.”
“Dang it. I lost my temper, again. WHY CAN’T I JUST BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN?!”
“The heck with it. I keep messing up, God is already mad at me, I’m just gonna drink. What more harm could I possibly do?”
“If I’m really saved, why do these bad things keep happening to me? That’s it, I’m making SURE God treats me right. I’m never missing another church service, I’m never going to cuss again, and I’m going to read my Bible at least 30 minutes a day, THEN God will answer my prayers.”
Or even, “WHY DO I FEEL LIKE THIS?! AM I EVEN A CHRISTIAN?! I CAN’T GET THIS RIGHT!”
…I could easily continue writing such statements as these, but I won’t because I don’t think this way any longer. All of those thoughts do nothing except create distance between me and my Creator in my mind–not in my spirit–and I’ve already un-learned them. How? By getting to know Jesus deeper each day, as well as who I really am inside: perfect, just like Christ.
This is the secret to removing incorrect thinking as a Christian. Get to know Jesus and get to know yourself, because He and you are one (see Romans 12:2, Colossians 1:22, 3:3, Ephesians 1:5, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
“But Matt, I thought I did know Him. I believe He’s forgiven me, I know He lives in me, so why do I keep feeling like I’m so far away from Him?”
Friend, over the course of my mind-renewal with Christ–as well as learning who I am in my spirit–I’ve realized we can’t live by our feelings alone. We have to learn to live by His truth, and that takes time. To enjoy any relationship, it takes time because you are getting to know the other person, same with God. If you are a new Christian, or finally expressing your spiritual perfection, you are also getting to know yourself. This takes even more time. Thankfully, this process will not end on this side of heaven (see Philippians 1:6), so give yourself a break.
Sure, Christ in you has now given you new desires to make different choices in thought, word, and deed. When you were saved, God wrote new desires on your heart (see Hebrews 8:10). However, you were just a baby in your soul, freshly born (see John 3:7). Even though a baby is born, it has a lot to learn about itself. The same applies to us as babes in Christ.
New babies need to be coddled and hand-fed, God does this for us for so long. He allows us live by our cozy, excited feelings–for a while. But soon enough, babies learn and grow, then stand up, walk, and lastly, run! This won’t happen if we don’t drop the binky and start listening to Daddy about who we really are. We should always be moving forward and growing in our supernatural identity in Christ! Some people want to stay on the bottle forever–living off of emotionalism and “Look at what I did!” But God knows our full potential so He lovingly corrects us while guiding us toward full maturity in our heaven-ready selves (see Ephesians 4:13).
Never confuse your salvation with the process of allowing God to renew your thinking! No matter how you feel, your feelings didn’t save you, Jesus did! Accepting Jesus as the Savior of your sin gives you a rebirth, spiritually. Once you believed, that moment, it happened! More than likely you didn’t feel anything happen–although you could have–but supernaturally an event occurred. The spirit part of you was made perfectly brand new! By faith, your spirit was crucified with Christ, it was buried with Christ, and then you were resurrected in Christ as a new creation! (See Romans 6, Galatians 2:20).
“BLASPHEMY! Matt, we aren’t perfect! We are dirty, rotten sinners!” That’s what a confused Christian will say, but I beg to differ. We were imperfect, we were dirty rotten sinners, but now we’re not. At our core, our spiritual DNA reads, Child of God. Inside, we’re the exact same as Christ! (See John 1:12, Romans 8:17). Do we still have carnal flesh? Yes. Do we still have immature baby thinking? Yes. But we are not of the flesh and our minds are growing each day! (See Romans 8:9, Philippians 4:8).
Jesus told Nicodemus, in the most famous Bible passage of all time, the very thing I’m telling you: you must become perfect, spiritually. No if, ands, or buts. How? Spiritual rebirth by believing in Jesus! (See John 3).
A new agreement–a new covenant–has happened between the Father and Son, and we are the beneficiaries! (See Hebrews 8:13). We did nothing to create this agreement, we don’t sustain it, all we do is simply reap the benefits and say, “Thank you!” THIS IS CALL TO CELEBRATE! This is why the gospel literally means good news! Your identity is now in Jesus and not in your old self any longer. Paul, a former bounty hunter of Christians said it best:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live (my old sinful spirit), but Christ lives in me. The life I now live (my new perfect spirit) in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, my emphasis, notes added).
Spiritually, you are connected to Christ! Stop doubting that! Say it with me and believe it as true:
“Spiritually, I am connected to Christ.”
“Spiritually, I AM CONNECTED TO CHRIST.”
“SPIRITUALLY I AM CONNECTED TO CHRIST!”
YES!!! Your feelings will catch up to this truth later, but keep saying it!
Believe this! PLEASE! Why? Because once you do, you’ll not be so hard on yourself any longer! You’ll stop doubting your true identity! You’ll grow! You’ll stop feeling far from God, because you’ll know you’re not! GOD IS IN YOU, COMPLETELY! Even you can’t make Him go away because this agreement between the Father and Son will never end! (See 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 7:25).
So today, my friends, know this: Jesus is in you and you’re in Him, just like wicker in a wicker chair. The Holy Spirit–the spirit-version of your Creator–He resides with you. You’re not far from God no matter how you feel, because you and Him are united forever.
A prayer for you: Wow, good morning Heavenly Father, it’s good to be alive! You chose US to wake up today, to have life, and to have it abundantly! Thank you! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of these dear readers are way too hard on themselves, they live by how they feel. Please, help them. Help them to realize it is your Spirit who inhabits them! Help them to understand their identity! Once they believe this truth, they’ll grow. Then their words and actions will begin to reflect this fact. Thank you for making us a part of your Family! We love you! Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days For Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!