Question from a Site Viewer
I accepted Christ years ago (at least I think I did) then I wandered about for a few years. I didn’t stop believing; I just stopped living like a Christian. But recently God has drawn me back and I’ve been reading His Word and praying regularly. I’m not perfect, but I have given Him my life this time. Here’s my issue. I can’t feel the Holy Spirit at all. I wonder if He’s even with me. It’s like He’s just not there. I pray constantly but still feel alone. I went to church but they were all hypocrites so I quit going. I want to go to a Seventh Day Adventist church.
Thanks for writing. You desire to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life and His leading, but as you say “He is not there.” Let me give you some encouragement on this point. Scripture does not command us to feel the Holy Spirit or His leading. The Spirit is not like that. Like the wind, we can see the effect of the Spirit of God and we might feel that effect in our lives, but we do not necessarily always feel Him or His leading. When God came to Elijah in 1 Kings, God was not in the wind, or earthquake, or fire, but in the still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12). While there was the sound of a mighty wind at Pentecost (Acts 2:2), there is no statement that there was an actual wind that was felt, or anything that was felt. But there was the effect of the Spirit. The same is true in Acts 4:31 where the place was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. But again, nothing is said about what they felt.
Rather, the thrust of Scripture is that we love God with all of our heart, that we love our neighbors and the brothers and sisters in Christ, that we hope in His coming, and that we serve one another (Galatians 5:1-16). These are the things that are our duties in this life. We should focus our lives in these areas as Scripture directs us to do. We should practice the Christian graces that are found in 2 Peter 1:5-7. In doing these things, we need to pray about everything (it is a command of Scripture as well as an invitation from our God). And we need to seek Him always. But, having asked for His guidance, we need to trust that He will answer even when we do not perceive His leading. So much of life is based on this trust.
There are times when I sense that God is telling me to do something. If what I am perceiving lines up with Scripture, then I try to do what I am perceiving. And I have seen God greatly work and confirm His leading in such moments. But for me, the vast majority of time I ask for His leading and His presence and trust that He will answer my prayers and then I proceed to live out my life to the ability He has given me as am ambassador of His. Having asked, I trust that He is directing. So I seek to be kind to people, to love the brothers, to be engaged with others, to meet needs, to have time to commune with the Father, to take time to worship God and praise Him. In living out my ordinary life, I have seen His leading over and over as I look back. Sometimes, I have even felt it at the moment, but not usually. Always, I count Him to be true to His word that if I ask, He will be present.
The body of the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This is a truth whether we perceive it, feel it, or not. The response in that passage is that we should glorify God in our body and in our spirit and not sin. The proper response to truth is to order one’s life in response to that truth.
I can tell you that there were times when the saints of old did not feel God was with them. If you have ever read Lamentations 3, you will understand and come to know Jeremiah’s strong faith when his feelings were totally contrary to the true facts of God’s presence. That is what faith is about. We believe that God exists and that He will reward those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), even when our feelings are contrary.
So, my encouragement to you is not to seek to feel the Holy Spirit and His leading, but to seek His presence and guidance in prayer, trust that He will lead you, and then be faithful in doing what He has asked us to do in Scripture. As you seek His presence and seek to live out His will as revealed in Scripture, He will be present with you and empower you to do His will.
A great practice is to use some of the great prayers of Scripture in your prayers. Seek the things that the apostle Paul sought for the believers in the many letters he wrote. You will see that Paul never prays that the believers will feel the presence of the Spirit, but he does pray that they may know the exceeding greatness of His power and that they might be filled with the knowledge of His will and that they might walk worthy of Him.
If you seek to walk worthy of God, drawing near in prayer, and asking for the help of the Spirit to serve others, you will live a life that is a blessing to God and to people, and the Spirit of God will abide in you.
I am concerned that you do not have a church that is encouraging you in your walk with God. I know that there is no perfect church, but there is a need to find other believers who can encourage, challenge, and help equip you in walking with God. Further, there is a need to find other believers to whom you can carry out the “one another” commands of Scripture. So I encourage you to make it a priority to find others who share a desire to follow God.
You state that you are looking for a church that worships on Saturday. There is nothing in the Bible that states what day the body of Christ should get together for worship. Hebrews 10:25 indicates only that we should get together even more frequently as we see the day of Christ approaching. Accordingly, I would not be so restrictive in seeking fellowship with others who love Christ. If there was a body of Christ that met together on Tuesday evenings, or Friday mornings, I would join with them. Or I would meet whenever my schedule allowed me to do so. I am not sure why Sunday does not work for you, but I note that in many larger churches that ordinarily meet on Sunday, there often is a Saturday evening service as well. I note that from Biblical times the church gathered together on the first day of the week. See our article, Why I Do Not Place Myself Under the Sabbath. Whether you meet on Saturday, Sunday, or any other day of the week, I think God makes it clear that He desires us to be in fellowship with other believers. I encourage you to do so.
May the Lord Jesus and His Spirit guide you in this matter.
In His service,