Have you ever prayed to God but didn’t feel Him answer? What do you do when this happens? All of us have times like this. But there are keys to understanding God and having a good relationship with Him. Investments we can make that will pay huge dividends.
Pastor Jeff Vines tells us in his message, I Don’t Feel God, that if we want to feel God’s presence again, we must first listen to what He is saying. We might be going through something that makes it hard for us to hear from God. But God hasn’t moved on. We have.
There is nothing better than feeling God’s presence and getting wisdom from Him. The problem is that if we’ve had that before and then lose it, it hurts even more because we know what it was like. But the Bible does give us some tips on how to know that God is with us.
Connecting With God
‘Every creature on the planet has a mechanism in them to connect with the outside world,’ says Jeff. ‘In 1 Corinthians 2, we often don’t understand how brilliant the Apostle Paul is with the words he uses to describe us. He says that we have a connecting mechanism with the spiritual world between us and God, but it has to be awakened.’
The Bible tells us the spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. And Paul says, for who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? He’s saying that we only know another person to the extent they allow us to see. People can manipulate and coerce. But the only person who knows the real us is the spirit within us.
‘No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God,’ says Jeff. ‘In the same way, only you know you. Only God knows God. Paul then goes on to say that what we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God. We’ve received that so that we may understand what God has freely given us.’
A Divine Romance
When we come to the cross, God forgives our past, present and future sin. We become intrinsically pure. We are righteous because of the blood of Jesus, and then God gives us His Holy Spirit and the relationship begins. But throughout the Bible we are also told of the divine romance. We are to get to know God in the same way that we get to know our spouse or a friend.
‘The Bible says that God is a God who likes to be pursued,’ says Jeff. ‘As you pursue a romance, you will find Him when you seek Him with all of your heart. Without intentionality, you will never feel God the way God is meant to be felt. You must listen to His language.’
In Matthew:17, Peter goes up on the mountain and sees the transfiguration. It was astounding. Everything else was just average and mundane compared to this. Why would Peter want to go back down to the average world when he could stay there on the mountain?
‘As Peter matures in his faith and gets older, he realises that there’s something greater than that experience,’ says Jeff. ‘We can communicate with the spirit every single day of our lives through the word of God. He is telling us directly that He is speaking to us all the time. But we don’t hear from God when we’re too busy hearing from everybody else.’
The Discipline of the Word
Without the discipline of the Word in your life, you will never feel God the way He’s meant to be felt. You will be controlled by the language of the world that constantly robs you of the eternal and aims your focus toward the temporary. But the problem is God is eternal.
‘If you want to feel the presence of eternal God, you’ve got to hear the communication,’ says Jeff. ‘You’ve got to listen to His language. A major thought that you’re going to have throughout your entire life as a Christian is that God is not near. Your emotions will lie to you, because what you believe determines how you feel.’
The Bible tells us that God works everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. If you don’t sense the presence of God in your life, it could be that your emotions are giving you a false picture of God that is not consistent with the Word of God.
‘There’s something about your recognition that Christianity and living a Christlike life is hard,’ says Jeff. ‘You cannot do it on your own. You need people that will pull you out of the pit of despair and bring you nearer to God, not farther away.’
‘It’s so important to choose your friends wisely.’
Interested in more teaching from Jeff? Heaven – What will it be like? What will I look like? Will I go there? Join Jeff Vines as he answers these questions and more in this 3 episode teaching. A resource available from our Vision Store.
This article was inspired by Jeff Vines.