Question:Hey Yuriy, I’ve been raised in a Christian family but lately I’ve felt so far away from God. I don’t sin terribly and I try to repent and follow Jesus better but every time I don’t know what to do after. My church doesn’t provide good info. I have zero desire to read the Bible. I try to listen to sermons online its not enough. My prayers are weak. My relationships with people are dying and I’m so bitter. I want a relationship with God.. What should I do in this state of massive dryness?
DISCERN IF YOU ARE IN SIN?
This is a question where it really would be nice to talk to someone who can help you answer some questions. I would ask you why you feel bitter? What is the root issue that is making your relationships die from people? Why is listening to sermons not enough? Not enough for what? Overall, I understand you are dealing with a time of spiritual dryness, emotional fatigue, maybe even depression. First off, you say you don’t sin terribly and try to repent/follow Jesus. What do you mean by “sin terribly”? What is the definition of that? Maybe you are dealing with very serious sin and instead of coming to Jesus for healing you consider it a “not terrible” type of sin. It is possible that you are sinning by trying to be religiously zealous and obtain salvation, self-worth, and identity through your own works and your own goodness? Maybe you just need to let go your desire to control your life? I would advise you to pray and ask the Lord to reveal if there is any sin in your life, if you don’t already feel Him convicting you of something.
SEEK GOD IN SCRIPTURE
If indeed you look over your heart and find the cause of the issue is not sin or transgression against God, it may be a time of testing that the Lord is leading you through. Many people who played major roles in the Bible and were used by God had to go through a desert period during which God refined and worked on their life and character. In cases like this you have to trust that the Lord is doing all things for you good, you have to trust that your Father is in control of your life and loves you. I know you say you have no desire for the reading of Scripture, but I lovingly encourage you to use the same energy that you used to write me to pick up the Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through it. The Lord is near to those that call upon Him. You are ignoring a very huge truth in front of you, namely that the very words of Scripture are the very Words of God. And when you read, even though it’s so hard to get started, you are hearing the voice of God as opened by the Holy Spirit. When Romans 5:1 says “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” it means you who believe in Christ are truly and really justified.
SEEK GODLY FELLOWSHIP
You say that your church doesn’t help, and it may just be that you are in an unbiblical church; if that indeed is the case try attending a different church that preaches Jesus and the Bible. You can also try to find some friends that love Jesus and join them in fellowship. Sometimes just opening your heart to other is enough to heal you. The Bible says “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7). Sometimes we need that aspect of community to make us remember that we are washed by the Blood of Christ. I really recommend you talk to someone and join a group f believers who are also on a journey with Jesus. I would love to chat and meet up sometime, you can find my contact on facebook and easily get a hold of me.
KNOW GOD IS OUTSIDE OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Another thing you may need to do is get rid of your false expectations. Maybe you are expecting God to work through particular means or maybe you expect the experience of being with God to be like something you have heard preached. Yet not every person experiences God with the same feelings, and to expect it to be just like your neighbor may lead you to be disillusioned and confused. I once thought that the way you truly know you are a “real Christian” is that you often audibly hear God talking to you, seeing visions of angels, and constantly feel an emotional rush. I later found out that I had simply been listening to a group of Christians that were hyper-charismatic and distorted the Bible completely on these teachings. They had claimed so many things, which were later shown to be false, and set up seriously wrong expectations in my mind. And these expectations hindered me from experiencing Gods Word as opened by the Spirit through the reading of Scripture.
I expected prayer to be something that was “strong” and always with ecstatic prophesies and loud yelling, and every time I went to such prayers all I felt was guilt that I couldn’t be as loud or powerful. Later I figured out how to do just that and everyone would tell me I prayed super spiritually, but I ended feeling worse because I realized that I could just turn it on and off, like I can cry and stop crying when I want. Instead I slowly realized that sometimes a quite gentle prayer, that is authentic at heart, has brought me closer to God than all the yelling and trying to be spiritual in appearance. The prophet Elijah has a very similar experience where he expected God to work in a way that was profound and visible to all, yet that’s not what happened.
“And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:11-13) God wasn’t in the loud and great things as expected, he was in the quiet moment when Elijah didn’t expect him. Often God comes in quiet moments when we are broken and realize we cannot do anything without him.
TRUST THAT GOD WILL SEEK YOU
A big moment for me was when I was so broken in spirit and gave up on life, it was specifically then that God began to work in me. It was when I realized that I had no hope, that he gave me hope. It was when I gave up that He showed up. It was when I had nothing to give, that he gave everything to me. The Scripture says that “the LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18). Like nothing else, I can wholeheartedly testify to this, that the Great Shepherd finds his sheep, even though he has to leave 99 to save just one, He will do it. Realize and reveal your brokenness and shame, don’t try to hide it, trust in the Goodness of God and be willing to be saved by him. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)