by Pastor Tim Burt
More often than you would think, someone tells me, I love God but I feel lost. I feel like I have drifted from Him and the love I should feel for the Lord seems cold. What should I do? I'm not sure how I got here and I don't know how to get back to the closeness I felt for the Lord.
Our relationship with God is just that—a relationship. When two people nurture a relationship, it will grow richer in love on every level. Take a relationship for granted and stop nurturing it, and it will deteriorate on different levels. And in the case of a relationship with the Lord, it will never be His fault because His love toward us and desire to be intimate with us never fails!
David, whom God said had a heart after Him, was even capable of feeling like he had slipped back from the Lord. It can and does happen to any of us. There is a huge clue to the source of this problem in David's cry to God during a time he felt distant. We see it in Psalm 119:176 (NLT) “I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.” If you pay attention to what David said, he said he wandered away yet he had not forgotten God's commands. That sounds like and oxymoron. That sounds like he didn't do anything wrong! Not having forgotten what God wants and doing them are two different things.
The hypocrites that Jesus continually rebuked didn't forget God's laws. They were teaching them to the people and making sure they lived by them or they would rebuke them. Like David, they hadn't forgotten them but it didn't mean they were doing them. The Pharisees weren't as you'll see in Matthew 23:1-3 (NIV). "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."
Psalm 119:170. “May my request for help come before you; deliver me according to your promise."
David knew that God promised to help bring him back to the place of intimacy. It was faith in God's promise that made that possible. He also knew what would refresh his relationship with God. He knew to reflect on all the wonderful things God had done for Him. He knew to praise God for whom He was. He knew to put a song of praise about God in his mouth. He did these things in faith trusting in God’s love and mercy and willingness to bring him back into a right place. He also knew He needed to obey God—not ignore God in the things God was dealing with his heart about. It is not enough to know God's way. You must into ignore God was He is speaking to you about them. Ignoring God in certain areas of your life is the source of the problem and what must change to restore intimacy to a relationship.
David knew deep down he was ignoring God. That was his problem in his affair with Bathsheba. You better believe God was warning him not to go there. But each time David drifted, he sought God's help to restore intimacy. And took real action to nurture the relationship as we see in Psalm 119:170-175 (NIV). “May my supplication (request) for help come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.”
When we've strayed, that's the time the devil would like to tempt us to run from God and yield to every fleshly temptation. It's also the time he'll try to take advantage of our depressed emotions and get us to isolate ourselves from church and other Christians. Whatever you do, don't do it! A lost sheep that has strayed becomes prey to the enemy of his soul. The devil will find a way to confuse and bring false hopes outside of God's ways. If you feel like you are outside of where God would have you be, then know this: feelings are not always true—especially the demonically produced feelings that lead to thoughts like, God is disgusted with me—He’ll never forgive me. If you do what David did, and you turn your heart toward God, those false feelings will change. Secondly, if you have strayed, cry out to God for help. He wants to lead you back and is ready to help you. It is the promise of His Word! Malachi 3:7 says, “…you have not kept my laws and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty…”
Follow David's example and do what he did. Have confidence that as you do draw near to God, he'll draw near to you. Don't isolate yourself. Be around the body of Christ. Be around believers and get to church and sit under anointed Bible teaching. God will use these things to speak into your life and encourage you as you nurture your intimacy and refresh your love for the Lord.
James 4:8 (NKJV) " Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt