Do you ever wonder if there’s something more to the Christian life? Maybe you’ve heard of or know people who tell you about having some sort of amazing God-experience—whether it’s been intense feelings of peace and joy, some kind of ecstatic excitement, maybe even visions or voices—and you wonder if you’re missing out. You hear about these things and you think to yourself “I want more”.
There have been times in my life when I’ve thought that maybe if I prayed in a different way, or if I sang songs in a different style, or if I used that Bible reading plan, then maybe I would experience God in a fuller, deeper, and more intimate way. Maybe if I just did something differently, then God by his Holy Spirit would fill me with these feelings of excitement, making my Christian walk just that much better.
As I speak with Christians at church or university, it seems that this desire to ‘experience’ or ‘feel’ God more intimately is quite widespread. People who desire such an experience feel they’re missing out on something. As one Christian said to me at church after hearing a sermon on Psalm 103, “There must be something more to the Christian life than I am currently feeling”. I wonder what advice you would give to such a person? On one hand, you may be right to point out that what we know to be the truth shouldn’t be overshadowed by being caught up in an experience-hungry age—but does this downplay too seriously the proper place of our emotions? My hope is that we can speak in such a way that values a desire for intimacy with God by speaking truthfully about the work of the Holy Spirit in the here and now.