From the head to the heart

I think the difficulty with apologetics is that often the argument are intellectual and not necessarily dealing with matters of the heart. I have felt this in my own Christian walk, to paraphrase, that I can know about God, I can talk a lot about God but I can know very little about my relationship with him. I think if I am honest that is how I feel, I am convinced that God exist, that Jesus is the Messiah and has risen, I have given my life to him. Although I have found that being convinced and feeling his presence with you are two different but not unrelated things.

In an interview with Francis Chan Jo Vitale, mentioned that she got to a point where she “missed Jesus”. How do you get to that point in your relationship with God? How do you get to the point where you miss Jesus? Is it the routine of praying and reading your Bible? Sometime God can seem so silent that it can feel like your just talking to yourself. Is this something anyone else struggles with?

Anyone have any advise?

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@bfitzsimmonds Who are the people who we miss naturally? Those we spend the most time with and who mean the most to us - spouse, kids, close friends… Usually that sense of loss comes because we’ve been through a lot with this individual - we have lots of memories together and we are deeply invested in their life. We have also experienced their love in our own lives.

I think we miss Jesus when:

  • the Gospel has truly moved us to worship, prayer and praise because of the grace of Jesus - he who has been forgiven little loves little, but the one who has been forgiven much loves much
  • we worship and pray in the Spirit and experience God’s moving in us as we sing and rejoice and plead on behalf of others - not only in community, but also in secret
  • we see God’s faithfulness to transform our lives
  • we are setting our lives apart for God and experiencing His love for others as we serve others in His name
  • we are filled with the Spirit, who moves in our hearts to love God and others - if we then quench the Spirit, the absence has been palpable in my own life

Now, I recognize not everyone works the same way emotionally and some people have emotional scars that they have to work through that can make even normal relationships difficult to experience. I think each of us may connect with God differently - walks in nature, journaling, worship music, meditation - I think we have to find the method that helps us as individuals most to take the truths of the Gospel from our head to our heart.

I also like an explanation from Piper - “Put the nose of your heart into the knowledge you are learning…” - haha. Think about the things that make us emotional? Why do they move us? Because we are investing our hearts emotionally in them - we are choosing to move our hearts - to incline our hearts into them. When we invest our heart into a sports team or into a group of friends - then we respond with emotion when that team wins / loses or when something is going on in our friends’ lives. Why? Because our heart is inclined - it is invested. To feel the Scriptures we must likewise incline and invest our heart in God and His truth.

May the Lord Jesus fill you with joy, peace and glory through the Spirit who dwells within us and give you wisdom in understanding how to experience Christ in your own life :slight_smile:

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@bfitzsimmonds. Your writing reminded me of a song, sung by Larnelle Harris.

I Miss My Time With You
"There he was just waiting
in our old familiar place.
An empty spot beside him
where once I used to wait.
To be filled with strength and wisdom
for the battles of the day.
I would have passed him by again
if I didn’t hear him say.

(chorus)

I miss my time with you.
Those moments together.
I need to be with you each day
and it hurts me when you say,
you’re too busy.
Busy trying to serve me.
But how can you serve me
when your spirit’s empty.
There’s a longing in my heart
wanting more than just a part of you.
It’s true.
I miss my time with you."

I think Jo Vitale may have been alluding to that condition. It is so easy to go through familiar motions, often our routines provide a place of comfort. Our acquisition of knowledge makes us feel a sense of legitimacy. Those attributes play a part, but perhaps a smaller part than we acknowledge. I think those practices are valid and serve the purpose of ‘marking the spot’ until, as SeanO has said; your practice catches up with the reality of GOD.

Additionally, your writing also brought to the center, a thought I have been dwelling upon. For all the emphasis we place upon the preparedness and education of Apologetics; very few of the foundational Apostles were educated. And the Apostle Paul counted all he had learned as dung. The Saints knew that practices and education alone were not sufficient for a successful walk with GOD. I often think if GOD would use a donkey as His mouthpiece, then I should remember; it is the Spirit of GOD that brings light and life. Not anything upon which, I might place a label of proficiency.

When I find myself out in spiritual outfield I get quiet and become inwardly focused. I don’t tell the Lord how to fix me I just repent and asked to be reconnected. GOD is faithful and always reconnects my heart to my actions and reveals what had led me astray. That can be as simple as how or what I am eating, online streaming, body maintenance; you name it! I am human, it does not take much to distract me. No wonder He tells us to "let His mind be in us.

Thank GOD for that sense of separation. Thank GOD for the longing that remains in my heart. I believe that it is possible to conduct myself in such a state beyond the point of danger. Those are usually times that ‘besetting sin’ is more likely to capture my flesh and after a while my heart. The human sentiment, nor human knowledge will ever be enough. We truly need GOD/JESUS/HOLY SPIRIT. We really need Him.

“O precious is that flow. That makes me white as snow. No other fount I know; nothing but the blood of JESUS.” Robert Lowry 1876. (Ephesians 6:10-18. Philippians 3:5-11.)

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