This is a topic of endless frustration for me so forgive me if I'm a little unclear.
I'm not a very emotional person. I'm one of those quiet thinking types. I like to look at things from a logical, rather than emotional point of view. And I think this part of the problem. I don't react very emotionally toward my faith, toward God. I believe in my heart and mind that God is real. But it's, how do I say this?
Well for one, I don't really feel grateful toward Jesus for his sacrifice. I wasn't physically there when he died and when he rose again. I know he did but it doesn't make me want to jump for joy or say "Thank you Jesus!" I approach it from a more detached, pragmatic perspective. "Jesus died, and rose again. I am saved from the punishment of my sin." It makes me happy to know that I'm not going to hell, but it doesn't excite me. Maybe I see it as too much an intellectual fact and not enough as an emotional fact. "That is so amazing! Jesus rescued me from an eternity spent in pain and separation from God!" I don't think that way. Maybe in this respect, I'm still immature in my faith? I don't know. I'm the sort who instead of going, "This is awesome! Jesus has saved me from my sin!" I say, "Jesus has saved me from my sin. What do I do because of that? i.e., how shall I live my life?"
In the typical church service, there is the time of worship by singing. This has literally for YEARS been a raw nerve for me. This is a frustration that has literally made me cry. Maybe because I go to a Pentecostal church, my idea of worship is skewed. This particular form of worship strikes me as an emotional thing. You essentially cry out to God, "Thank you! You are so wonderful! Jesus my Savior!" and part of the reason it frustrates me is that I've not had the kind of emotional reaction that makes me want to respond like this. And it seems wrong to me. Yes I do sing, but because that's what you should do. My youth pastor knows about this particular emotional issue I have and she said that even when I don't feel like praising and singing I still should, as a sacrifice of praise. But am I offering the sacrifice of praise - or the sacrifice of fools? Another reason why I don't get into the worship is the fact I'm plain scared by what I see. People speaking in tongues, crying loudly, being slain in the Spirit. That's plain freaky. I am not comfortable opening myself up emotionally like that, making myself emotionally vulnerable - even though I realize these people wouldn't judge or hurt me. And I'm not comfortable with the supernatural things that happen. I don't like the idea of losing control over my own body, even if it is God doing it! There are often worship sessions where the Spirit is moving, people are singing their hearts out to God, God is speaking to people, and I'm standing there wondering why, once again, I missed out on whatever is going on again. I'm at the point where I'm considering leaving the Pentecostal denomination, to get away from these things.
This afternoon I was attending youth group and my youth pastor was talking about how you feel God. Experiential faith. I don't think I've ever actually felt the presence of God. I know that God is present but it doesn't usually cause me to suddenly have a great sense of peace or other things commonly associated with that. Is there something wrong with me? Am I doing something wrong? If there is some nugget of wisdom vital to the faith, well, it's been four years since I've become a believer and I learn things a lot faster than the typical person. If I haven't got it by now, if nobody plain tells me I never will get it...