What things can help if I don't feel love for God?
No one feels love for God until he or she is born again. We are spiritually dead until we receive salvation in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1–10). First John 4:10 says, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." We only love God because He loved us first (1 John 4:19). Once we are born again, nothing can pry us from God's love (Romans 8:38–39).
Even so, we may not always "feel" love for God. We know that emotions ebb and flow over time, including our feelings toward God. It is important to remember that even when we don't feel it, God still loves us. And, even when we don't feel it, we can still choose to trust God, choose to act, and choose to have faith in God. Our relationship with God is not based on feelings and circumstances, but on His truth and on faith.
God is all forgiving and compassionate toward you (2 Corinthians 1:3). Remember, He did not respond to you and your feelings, but you responded to His love and the truth of His action to send His Son Jesus Christ for you (John 3:16). Ours is a reaction, a response to His great love. Because He never changes (Hebrews 13:8), we can seek to be consistent in our reaction to His love.
When you don't feel love for God, keep on choosing to love God. Dive into His Word, the Bible, for encouragement. You will see the lengths He has gone to reach you and establish a relationship with you. The Psalms and 1 John may be particularly pertinent.
Keep praying. Tell God of your troubles, give Him praise for the truths you read about in His Word, and ask for His help.
Continuing to go to church is important. The community of believers is meant for mutual encouragement and building up (Hebrews 10:24–25). Being with others who also believe God and are seeking to live for Him can help renew our love for God.
Taking communion is also important. It is a remembrance service, bringing to mind Jesus' goodness to us (1 Corinthians 11:23–26). This physical act of remembrance can help renew our feelings of love for God.
Remind yourself of God's past faithfulness as a way to renew your love for Him. If you keep a journal, or simply remember these times, you can look back at times that God has been good to you, shown mercy and compassion, rescued you from a difficulty, and the like. You can also begin to pay attention to the ways you currently see God at work and record those in a journal. This will help you to focus on God's love for you and help renew your love for Him (Philippians 4:8).
You might also consider finding a Christian mentor, someone who is mature in the faith and who has evident joy in the Lord. Ask this person to advise you and walk with you.
Having mountain-top experiences with God is great and wonderful and gives us touchstones to return to as reminders of His greatness. But we all know there are valleys near every mountain, and plains leading to it all. Our walk with God is not in the clouds, but here on earth—an earth that has been corrupted by sin. It is natural to feel discouraged at times, and even to lack love for God at times. But when we feel this way, we can remind ourselves of His truth—through reading the Bible, through praying, through fellowshipping with other believers. Love is not a constant high, but a daily choice. God's love is steadfast and something on which we can always rely.
When you don't feel love for God, know that God hears your heart, and hears your prayers. Ask Him for help. David wrote, "In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears" (Psalm 18:6). Hebrews 4:14–16 and Hebrews 10:19–23 tells us we can draw near to God in full faith because Jesus has opened a way for us.
If your distance from God continues to grow, please seek the assistance of a reputable Christian counselor. A Christian counselor can uncover with you the root of your difficulties and help to formulate a strategy to grow closer to God in your unique circumstances.
Know this: God is pursuing you with as much passion and love as He did when you first met Him.
Paul ends his letter to the Ephesians with a lovely prayer we share with you here (Ephesians 3:14–21): "… I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
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