Do you ever go through times where it feels like God has left you? Last night in my sleep, I had a horrible experience where it felt like nothing but emptiness in my gut. Like the Holy Spirit wasn’t there. What do you do when you feel like giving up? J.G.
The old time saints referred to times like this as the “dark night of the soul.” Everyone who follows Christ will experience it. There is a sense in which it is a test from God. “Will J.G. believe Me even when he does not “feel” My presence?”
John the Baptist went through the dark night of the soul when King Herod put him in prison. John sent some of his friends to Jesus to ask Him if He really was the Messiah (the Christ). See Matt. 11:2-6. Elijah the prophet went through it, too. So did Jonah. You are in good company!
Watch out for your emotions. Your feelings can lie to you! Created in God’s image, we are trinity. We are spirit, soul (which is your mind, will, and emotions), and body. When we repent and give our lives to Christ we are saved and we are given a new spirit. We are “born again” (John 3:3). We relate to God through our new spirit. The daily problem is that our salvation is not complete until we reach heaven. In other words we still have our unsaved soul and body in this life. Our new spirit battles against our “old man” called “the flesh” which is our soul. See Romans 7:24-25. Because we are not yet glorified our emotions can lie to us!
Our salvation is in three stages: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is the new birth. It is when we first believe. At the point of salvation we are forgiven and can stand before God justified because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. After justification comes sanctification or growing in grace and faith, maturing in Christ. That is where you and I are right now. Glorification happens in eternity when we are raised from the dead and receive our new, forever bodies. Pretty cool, huh?
So feed the “new man” (your spirit) and starve the “old man” (your soul or “flesh”). This will strengthen the one and weaken the other. We walk by faith not by sight (or feelings I might add). See 2 Corinthians 5:7.
~ Pastor Chris