Growing up, my parents carted me off to youth group on a weekly basis, until my best friend learned to drive and brought me with her. Being a part of youth group also meant going to youth rallies, which I adored. Some were a day while others were over a weekend, but they all consisted of multiple teaching and preaching sessions, volunteer activities, and worship services. At each one, my heart would feel stirred into action and affections. My soul awakened to greater passion for God, His Word, and His mission. My throat often grew sore with singing—and my shoulders sore from holding my arms up.
I remember one night distinctly. As we closed out the final songs on the evening of the last day, with the lights still dimmed and the band still playing, the ordinariness of ordinary life struck me. I had to go back home to my quiet church where we sang from the hymnal in a fully lit sanctuary. I had to get through my week with only one message at church and possibly another one at youth group. I had to pass through hallways with other students who scoffed at my faith and gloried in sin.
I had to go back to normal life.
“I wish I could live every day like this,” I said to a friend and my youth leader. “I know this feeling won’t last when I go home.”
I was right. The feelings dissipated, like fog burning off on a summer morning. But what I had feared most that I hadn’t spoken that evening, was that God would grow distant again as my passion waned.
Do you ever feel that fear in your heart as well, dear Christian? As your emotions rise and fall like the tides, do you feel as if God goes out with them? Be assured: God never leaves His beloved children. The Spirit remains within us as a constant, unchanging Person of the Trinity, despite our heart’s dullness at times.Be assured: God never leaves His beloved children. The Spirit remains within us as a constant, unchanging Person of the Trinity, despite our heart’s dullness at times. Click To Tweet
The God Who Never Leaves
Jesus declared to His disciples in His parting words, “I am with you always, to the end of the age,” (Matt. 28:20 ESV). Though He was ascending to heaven, He would always be with them because He is our omnipresent God. He didn’t declare to them, “And I will be with you in mighty ways when your heart is greatly stirred with love!” There is no clause, no hidden stipulation to His words.
“I am with you always.”
Our emotions are a vital part of who we are. They are God-given and a part of His good creation. Yet they are not the foundation of our relationship with God. God saves us, keeps us, and leads us not because we are jumping through spiritual hoops for the right emotions. Rather, He chose to set His love upon us while we were still sinners with no affections for Him (Rom. 5:8). As Paul declared to the Roman church: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Rom. 8:38–39 ESV).
The powers of your emotions cannot drive God away.
The same is true on the other side as well. God doesn’t grow nearer to us simply because our affections have risen closer to the surface. If we are Christians, God is constantly leading with an outstretched arm, ceaselessly bending low to hear our prayers, and perpetually turning our hearts from sin to Christlikeness. God carried me through as I jumped by the stage at youth rallies, through the regular days of sharpening pencils in the classroom, and as I curled up in my bed fending tears off during anxiety attacks. The same God with His fatherly hand leads me through every day of my life—regardless of my emotions.The powers of your emotions cannot drive God away, and He doesn’t grow nearer to us simply because our affections have risen closer to the surface. Click To Tweet
The Counselor that Never Grows Weary
What we need to understand about the leading of the Holy Spirit is that His work is not a power we must activate. If we are Christians, the Spirit is leading us (Rom. 8:1–17). Our job is simply to cooperate with His work and follow His leading. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit we are given when we believe, and His power doesn’t wax or wane with our emotions. He promises to lead us each of our days towards holiness.
His leading will not always feel like the highs of youth rallies. Sometimes He brings a passage of God’s Word to mind as we put away laundry or as we defend the faith in a conversation with a friend. Sometimes it’s in the strength to overcome temptation, while other times it’s the bitter taste of our sin through conviction and His drawing us to repentance. Or perhaps it’s that passage of Scripture our pastor preached on that gives us hope in the midst of our suffering. His leading is real and tangible at all times of our lives; sometimes it’s fierce and extraordinary, and other times it’s simple and ordinary.The Spirit's leading is real and tangible at all times of our lives; sometimes it’s fierce and extraordinary, and other times it’s simple and ordinary. Click To Tweet
Yet through it all, He remains near in His fullness, His love our constant.
We need God and His grace at all times, and He is ever aware of that. He doesn’t remain distant, waiting to dole out grace when we stir ourselves to receive it. Rather, He gives us His grace at all times—because none of us would take another step in faith without it.