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No conviction of sin

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by losthope, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To s.s, you wrote this:
    Very true, churches are for believers. It's odd that the leaders aren't able to help though. But you are definitely on the right track, it seems, and as you push forward, God will come nearer to you also and help you to find Him.
    I would encourage you to stick with one of those churches that you tried - there is no requirement for you to sing or join in, but often I've seen people go for long periods of time before everything just falls into place. If the Spirit is in the place, it shouldn't take too long! Also, I feel it would be better to be in than out, for a variety of reasons, and it can't do any harm.
    At the end of the day though, it's all about seeking, seeking, seeking.

    So far I have not yet found a church that I feel at home in, but maybe that is not a surprise, as churches are for believers, not for non-Christians.

    I have spoken to many local Christians, including church ministers and Christian counsellors. None have been able to help me, mostly because my situation is way outside their experience. One reason for posting on the internet is the hope that perhaps, somewhere in the world, there is a person who can help.

    In the Bible, if it's said twice, that means it's both IMPORTANT, and VERIFIED.
    Matthew 7:7 - Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

    Luke 11:9 - And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

    Claim that. That's a promise from God. He is legally bound by His own word to answer if you are seeking him! Tell him you are asking, seeking, knocking, and don't give up.


    Jesus said it once, and two people wrote about it. But I know that there are other similar promises elsewhere in the Bible.

    I have been asking, seeking and knocking, not all the time but on and off, for many years. Without any sign of finding God, or of God finding me. If God is, as you suggest, legally bound to answer if I am seeking, then why has it not happened? I will have to go on waiting. I wondered if the cause might be that I had never experienced a conviction of sin, and therefore did not have a deep need for a saviour; that is partly why I began this thread.
     
  2. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under, you wrote this:
    If you're happy with discussions then I am as well. First things first - how do you view the christian God's character? (One of my favourite apologetics radio show has a Monty-Python type skit where a young woman visiting a build-your-own-god/dess shop is asked this question: "do you want her to be kind, loving, compassionate, just, angry, righteous, wrathful".... the saleswoman's voice noticeably changes as the less "positive" traits are mentioned.)

    Which is closest to your current way of thinking? Is the God of the Bible:
    1. too holy to permit unsaved sinners i.e. any non-christians to go to Heaven
    2. too loving to punish any of us for being imperfect or merely human. If the latter, that includes absolutely everybody, from christians, people of other religions, generally moral people, criminals, and even absolute extremes like Hitler
    3. reasonably "fair" and looks at our lifestyle and general attitudes and grades us by the curve

    How do I view God’s character? It is not really something that I have thought about much, but I will do my best to answer your question. You give three alternatives, and I have two things to say. First, I am not in agreement with any of them. Second, you asked the question in terms of who God would allow into heaven, but because I am not interested in life after death I am finding it difficult to relate to the question fully.

    With regard to your three alternatives, my opinion is that

    1 is too restrictive. Those who go to heaven would be those that God has accepted, those who turn to God, those that God has forgiven, and that may include more than only Christians.

    2 is a rather wishy-washy view of God, and is definitely not in agreement with the Bible.

    3 is also a bit watered down, and could sound rather like a God created in the image of humans. Alternatively, maybe it depends on what you mean by “our lifestyle and general attitudes”. If it involves a lifestyle following God’s principles and attitudes of holiness, then maybe heaven is the right destination.

    So I think my answer is definitely not 2, and I would want to modify both 1 and 3 before I could agree. However, as my interest is in knowing God in my lifetime, rather than being concerned about life after death, I would prefer to phrase the question in terms of who God would respond to or have a personal relationship with, rather than who God would allow into heaven.
     
  3. bling

    bling Regular Member Supporter

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    OK I have read all the posts on this thread and would like to discuss this with you since you have shown in your responses a real concern.

    Do you really want a “prodigal son” type experience Luke 15: 11-32, because he really reached the very bottom and I would hope you could turn before then?

    You can actual have the Acts 2: 37 experience: 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

    Put that is experiencing a death blow to the heart and this usually come later for some already Christians after much understanding.


    “Churches” in general, may not be the best place to meet God. If you attended an underground Church in China you might experience God’s presence in their lives, but there are not many in the West like them. The Christians I met in the State Penitentiary where putting their lives on the line everyday and living Christ like, so you could meet/see God there.


    So why do you want to “experience”/know God? If you do not really “want” to know (experience) God, He is not going to disturb you with His presence, since God is here to help. God is not trying to get you to do something, but is trying to give you something, but you are going to have to just; humbly accept this huge gift as “charity”, because it is totally undeserving and unconditional.

    Do you really want to be like God Himself (Love) in that you are selfless and really enjoy helping others to the point that is where you find your joy?

    The “good” first century Pharisees that met Jesus, thought they were not in need of His help, so you could be like them? At one time I was a modern day Pharisee, but my experience teaching committed Christian’s in prison brought me to my knees.
     
  4. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    I asked that because your entries show you know a lot about what you are looking for and what you have not been able to get despite your seeking but you haven't said much about God Himself.

    I made them very black-and-white on purpose. Yes quite a bit *cough* very oversimplified but a good diagnostic tool in a way. :)

    It is good that you are more interested in a relationship right here and now, but don't discount considering your eternal destiny as a valid concern. 70-90 years is incredibly short compared to forever.

    I would have been more than surprised if you would have agreed with fundamentalist/conservative christians!

    You would be surprised at the amount of people who have done just that.

    This point you make is what many christians do make God more appealing to themselves or when trying to make converts to increase church sizes. Who knows how many people could be falsely calling themselves christians because they decided they liked the marketing from a particular preacher or book and bought that particular package......

    So overall do you think people following the 10 commandments in a general way would be enough to get a "pass conceded" into Heaven? What do you think of this video?
    ‪Witness to Seal Beach Kid‬‏ - YouTube

    My one criticism is that the background music really isn't needed for emotional impact! By the way I hate it when christian preachers use that in the altar call time slot as well. If somebody's heart has been touched properly they will respond no matter what.

    Like you said, Christianity is a relationship - not just fire insurance - but you have to know about God Himself before you can know Him personally in a real relationship. How can you love somebody if you don't know anything about them? The apostle John said "we love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
     
  5. God's Word

    God's Word Well-Known Member

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    You've said this more than once and it's sad...because it's probably mostly true. Churches ought not to be that way, especially where your "no conviction of sin" is concerned.

    I Corinthians 14:23-25

    "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth."

    According to scripture, one of the true signs that God is actually present in a church is that the prophesying members, via the gift of the Holy Spirit, ought to be able to "convince" or "convict" unbelievers of their sin by manifesting the very secrets of their hearts. Sad to say, I know of no such church. In fact, most so-called "prophesy" these days seems to be things like, "My little lamb, God loves you and wants to give you this and that..." Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that the type of situations that you describe (including single women pouncing on men or vise versa), although accurate, are not the way that God intended for them to be. I don't know what else to say...except that I'll genuinely be praying for you. You're doing the right thing by waiting (my guess is that it's already come, more than once, and you've missed it...I've often prayed for God to show me where I've missed Him, so I'm not picking on you) for the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not just acting upon some sort of convincing argument. Afterall:

    I Corinthians 12:3

    "...no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

    And, again:

    John 6:44

    "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

    As I said, I'll be praying for you.
     
  6. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To bling, thank you for reading the thread and for posting. You wrote this:
    OK I have read all the posts on this thread and would like to discuss this with you since you have shown in your responses a real concern.

    I am glad that you realise that I am serious about trying to find God. I am trying to find out if the reason why I have not yet found God is that I have never experienced a real conviction of sin.

    Do you really want a “prodigal son” type experience Luke 15: 11-32, because he really reached the very bottom and I would hope you could turn before then?

    I do not think that my situation has ever been similar to the prodigal son. Maybe more like the brother. However, I have in the past found myself in desperate need of God, but even then God did not respond to my prayers.

    You can actual have the Acts 2: 37 experience: 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

    Put that is experiencing a death blow to the heart and this usually come later for some already Christians after much understanding.


    Maybe what I am missing is something like being cut to the heart about sin.

    So why do you want to “experience”/know God? If you do not really “want” to know (experience) God, He is not going to disturb you with His presence, since God is here to help. God is not trying to get you to do something, but is trying to give you something, but you are going to have to just; humbly accept this huge gift as “charity”, because it is totally undeserving and unconditional.

    I have never experienced anything from God or of God, as far as I am aware. I would like to know God and to serve God, but I have not yet managed to know God.

    It sounds sensible, just to accept the gift of salvation. But for me it was not a success. I did accept salvation (without having a deep conviction of sin), many years ago but I failed to know God. There was no response of any kind from God, as far as I am aware. Next time I want to make sure that I accept salvation in the way that God wants it for me, but as yet I have no idea where to begin.

    Do you really want to be like God Himself (Love) in that you are selfless and really enjoy helping others to the point that is where you find your joy?

    I am certainly not selfless, but I do enjoy helping others. It is something that I spend a lot of my time doing.

    The “good” first century Pharisees that met Jesus, thought they were not in need of His help, so you could be like them? At one time I was a modern day Pharisee, but my experience teaching committed Christian’s in prison brought me to my knees.

    I do not think that I am quite like the Pharisees, because I realise that I need help. Unfortunately I have no idea how to access that help. Having tried twice and failed twice to become a Christian, I know from experience that for me it is not simply a case of saying something like the “sinner’s prayer”. Something more is needed, and I am investigating the possibility that what has always been lacking is a real conviction of sin and therefore a real need for a saviour.
     
  7. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under.

    You wrote this:
    ... your entries show you know a lot about what you are looking for and what you have not been able to get despite your seeking but you haven't said much about God Himself.

    Part of the reason why I have not said much about God is that I do not know God, I lack a relationship with God. If and when I do find God, then maybe I will learn more about God. I appreciate that there is a lot about God in the Bible, but at the moment for me that is just theoretical knowledge.

    It is good that you are more interested in a relationship right here and now, but don't discount considering your eternal destiny as a valid concern. 70-90 years is incredibly short compared to forever.

    I am not discounting eternity. I just have no interest in life after death. If it is part of the package of Christianity then I suppose I will have to accept it, but it is not of importance to me. I realise that most Christians are very interested in life after death. For some Christians it is the reason why they became a Christian. I just happen to be different.

    This point you make is what many christians do make God more appealing to themselves or when trying to make converts to increase church sizes. Who knows how many people could be falsely calling themselves christians because they decided they liked the marketing from a particular preacher or book and bought that particular package......

    It is an interesting thought. Maybe heaven will be a lot emptier than people think.

    So overall do you think people following the 10 commandments in a general way would be enough to get a "pass conceded" into Heaven? What do you think of this video?

    I watched the video, and I agree that the way Jesus described breaking the commandments was much more stringent than most people realise. I am quite aware of that. But the knowledge that I fall short of those high standards has never had an effect on me that I could describe as being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit.

    When I wrote about “a lifestyle following God’s principles and attitudes of holiness” I meant something a little stronger than simply following the commandments in a general way, because having God’s attitudes of holiness would make a big difference.

    Like you said, Christianity is a relationship - not just fire insurance - but you have to know about God Himself before you can know Him personally in a real relationship.

    I am not at all sure that I agree with you here. I would have thought that if a person has a relationship with God they would learn more about God as a result of that relationship, so that the learning about God and the development of the relationship go together.
     
  8. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    I have never been in a church where there were gifts of the Holy Spirit acting on believers so as to convict me of my sin. It may have happened for other people, but not for me.

    You suggest that some kind of conviction of sin might have come to me through the Holy Spirit, and I missed it. Well, that is possible, but I have no awareness of it ever happening.

    Your two Bible verses both imply that God has to act first, before a person can be saved. Of course, because salvation is grace. It is something that God does for us, not something that we can do for God.

    I appreciate your prayers. However, in all the time that I have been seeking God, and I began in 1966, no prayer of mine has ever been answered, and as far as I know, nobody who has prayed for me ever had that prayer answered. For example four years ago I found a way to trust God again, and posted on two Christian websites as well as telling the members of a local church. There were people praying for me locally and all round the world. Yet my faith faded away in two weeks, because there was no response from God.
     
  9. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    You are right - not having a relationship explains why you haven't mentioned God Himself much. To know what the Bible says about God is an important starting point. Just like a house needs a strong foundation to withstand severe storms and floods, christians need to have a strong understanding about who God is and what He has done for us to have a faith that withstands difficult times. A lot of the strength of that foundation will be through knowledge of God's word. That that isn't from a mere head knowledge either! Words from the exact same Bible passage can suddenly "speak" to our hearts in a very different way and touch us or convict us as we need just at that very moment.

    So you want to have a relationship with God in this life, but you don't have any interest in a much fuller relationship with Him after your death? The relationship He has promised to all who believe in Him and therefore have a relationship with God in this life as well as the next?

    Yes that is a major concern of mine. I know at times in the past I thought was a good enough christian. I had too much confidence in my own general morality and sadly major failures and backsliding episodes were needed to humble me and open my eyes to how sinful I really was in God's eyes. If I was so easily self-deceived I bet many others have done exactly what I did.
    You sound a bit like a dog trying to catch its own tail! You seem to be trying to feel guilty so you can feel you have repented enough to claim you have been born again etc! A baby cannot deliver itself, only the mother (and usually medical professionals) can. A cake cannot bake itself, only the baker can. A tree cannot water itself, only the rain or farmer can.
    Perhaps it's time to ask God Himself "please show me how you see me, warts-and-all, please block all distraction/minimising/excuse/rationalising strategies, and open my eyes fully to the truth of why Jesus needed to die for me personally..."
    Yes that type of lifestyle will only come about from having a totally changed heart through having a real relationship with God. Merely trying to follow the 10 Commandments - if we're honest with ourselves - will show us how much we cannot do it in our own strength. His laws and commandments are written upon on our hearts when we believe in Him. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength to overcome sin and weaknesses that would not have been possible before we become christians. In a way faith results in good works. Are you are hoping that if you do enough/think enough good works, faith will result? If you are then you've got it back to front.

    Yes it is a relationship. All relationships have a beginning when you are getting acquainted with each other, finding out common interests, goals, personal values, where the other person is coming from. Pretty soon you decide if you want to develop the relationship further or not from the knowledge/information you have received. And like normal human relationships - if you want it to be a healthy, successful and permanent relationship that is - you have to know the truth about God before it can develop properly into a closer, more intimate one.
     
  10. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    OK, entry after re-reading and realising it's become a bit like a tennis match... losthope you seem to have addressed your sins/failures in a fairly flippant manner. I don't think that was intended but the attitude has come out several times. Any one of your sins is such an offence to God He had to actually sent his own son Jesus to die an agonising death on the cross to give you any hope of ever getting reconciled with Him and being made acceptable in His sight.

    can you please get out a notepad or open a microsoft document and do these things after reading Exodus 20 3 times to get them really stuck in your mind:

    For each individual commandment from as far back as you can remember write whenever you broke one of those commandments and how you broke it. e.g. for "do not worship other gods" - "I valued my career more than seeking God", for "do not not bear false witness" - "I made my Mum think my little sister or brother kicked the dog when I had done it instead".
    You get the picture.

    God also knows our hearts and judges us for sins we have not committed but secretly wanted to do if we had the chance or knew we wouldn't get caught. Read this passage Matthew 5:21-48 also 3 times.

    You may not have actually committed adultery, but have you ever lusted after other women?
    Have you ever harboured grudges or unforgiveness towards people who have hurt you?
    Have you ever made rash promises you regretted and broke later?
    Have you ever tried to get your own way and pay people back for their wrongdoings when you know God would have wanted you to just let it go?

    Now consider this: just one sin is enough to label us as a lawbreakers and therefore not worthy of God James 2:10-11
    God condemns everyone of us Romans 3:9-20
    If you really want to see how God sees you right now while you are still unforgiven in His sight because of your (current) unbelief in Jesus - you need to do this.
     
  11. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under, thank you for two rapid responses. You wrote this:

    ...christians need to have a strong understanding about who God is and what He has done for us to have a faith that withstands difficult times. A lot of the strength of that foundation will be through knowledge of God's word. That that isn't from a mere head knowledge either! Words from the exact same Bible passage can suddenly "speak" to our hearts in a very different way and touch us or convict us as we need just at that very moment.

    I know that some Christians have the experience of a Bible passage speaking to their hearts, touching them or convicting them in a way that gives them what they need at that time. It is not something that has ever happened to me. But then, for me the idea of anything speaking to the heart has never happened to me. For me, head knowledge seems to be all that there is.

    So you want to have a relationship with God in this life, but you don't have any interest in a much fuller relationship with Him after your death? The relationship He has promised to all who believe in Him and therefore have a relationship with God in this life as well as the next?

    You are absolutely right. I have said in the past that I have no interest now in life after death, but if I should one day develop a relationship with God, then I might want that relationship to continue after I die. However, as long as I do not have that relationship, life after death is of no interest to me.

    You sound a bit like a dog trying to catch its own tail! You seem to be trying to feel guilty so you can feel you have repented enough to claim you have been born again etc! A baby cannot deliver itself, only the mother (and usually medical professionals) can. A cake cannot bake itself, only the baker can. A tree cannot water itself, only the rain or farmer can.
    Perhaps it's time to ask God Himself "please show me how you see me, warts-and-all, please block all distraction/minimising/excuse/rationalising strategies, and open my eyes fully to the truth of why Jesus needed to die for me personally..."


    Saying that I seem to be trying to feel guilty so that I can repent enough is not really the way I intended it. What I am trying to find out is if my lack of conviction of sin could prevent me becoming a real Christian. You and some of the other people who have posted in this thread suggest that lack of a real conviction of sin is very important. That conviction of sin is not coming from within me, and the Bible says that is comes through the work of the Holy Spirit.

    For the past few weeks, following the suggestion of a Christian, I have been praying daily that God could show me how God feels about sin, show me that I am a sinner, and give me that conviction of sin. It has not yet happened. That is why I started this thread, trying to find out if there was anything that I could do to help the Holy Spirit to work in me.

    His laws and commandments are written upon on our hearts when we believe in Him. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength to overcome sin and weaknesses that would not have been possible before we become christians. In a way faith results in good works. Are you are hoping that if you do enough/think enough good works, faith will result? If you are then you've got it back to front.

    Definitely not. I am not expecting that faith will develop out of good works. But I recognise that faith can result in good works.

    OK, entry after re-reading and realising it's become a bit like a tennis match... losthope you seem to have addressed your sins/failures in a fairly flippant manner. I don't think that was intended but the attitude has come out several times. Any one of your sins is such an offence to God He had to actually sent his own son Jesus to die an agonising death on the cross to give you any hope of ever getting reconciled with Him and being made acceptable in His sight.

    No I had not intended to address my sins in a flippant manner. I am sorry if it sounded that way. However, in my original post I wrote that “I have a general awareness of sin, but I have never experienced anything that I could describe as a real conviction of sin.” Not a flippant attitude, but a recognition that I did not regard sin in the same way that is pictured in the Bible, or indeed in the same way that many Christians do. I know that I do not have that conviction of sin.

    You made a suggestion as to how I might learn more about sin, and myself as a sinner, by reading through the ten commandments, plus the comments on the commandments that Jesus made in Matthew 5, and writing down how I broke most or all of the commandments.

    I remember taking part in a similar exercise on-line, and I rapidly discovered that I had broken nine of the ten commandments. Possibly the other one as well, but I could not think of an example of it.

    I am aware that, to the God of the Bible, being righteous means rather more than just avoiding an F grade. Even straight A’s is not enough. Only 100% in everything is acceptable. I know that I do not score 100%.

    I also understand why 100% is what God wants. As an analogy, I used to work in nuclear safety. If I was in charge of nuclear safety at a nuclear power plant close to you, you would want me to do everything right first time every time. Just one mistake would be one too many.

    Anyway, I did as you suggested and I produced a list of where I have broken at least nine of the commandments. What do you suggest that I do having produced the list? I will not be publishing it on this web site, that is for sure.

    If you really want to see how God sees you right now while you are still unforgiven in His sight because of your (current) unbelief in Jesus - you need to do this.

    I recognise in principle what you are saying. But although I understand that God may see me in this way, it has not really affected me at all. I still have no conviction of sin.
     
  12. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    Losthope, some people genuinely don't feel God with them all the time, or hardly ever at all even after they are saved. I am now one of those people. I was also one of those who felt God, knew God was with me all the time and those feelings went after I had epilepsy brain surgery. I pretty well abandoned my faith - stopped attending any church, reading Bible, no prayer at all - when I lost those feelings for years so don't you think none of us christians understand what you are going through right now. Faith DOES NOT equal feelings, feelings can come AFTER faith, but are still not guaranteed anywhere that I can think of. Feelings are NOT a prerequisite to become a christian or prove you are a christian. (By the way it was christian apologetics that brought me back.)

    I know what a struggle it is for you to believe you could ever have a genuine faith since you don't have any feelings at all regarding sin. I bet you have seen and heard people all around you proclaiming how God touched their heart and moved them to tears when they became a christian. Are you able to take a step back and ask are they very "feeling" people to begin with and so God spoke to them using their personal heart language? Are you an extremely thinking person overall? If you are then have you thought of going to churches that are far more for thinking personalities? If you have gone to charismatic churches then they would really make you really feel even more like a fish out of water!

    No, that sin "list" is for you and God only. Remember He already has it as well.

    1.Do you recognize that for any hope of a relationship developing that you have to repent of those sins? Apologize for them, truly willing to do a 180 degrees on how you approach thing? Are you willing to do that? That is doing, not feeling good or bad about it.
    2. Do you wish Jesus to be Lord and Saviour?
     
  13. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under,

    Thank you so much for sharing about the effects of the brain surgery. Yes, you do understand what it is like to have no feelings. You recognise that I am a “thinking” person and not a “feeling” person.

    I have never been a “feeling” person. For a reason quite similar to what happened to you. The effects of brain damage. In my case it is a non-fatal brain tumour that has probably been with me since I was a child, and one effect is that I am unable to feel emotions. I can “think” emotions, but I do not feel them. Strong feelings of any kind are completely outside my experience. I have never been passionate about anything. I could never do anything “with all my heart”. I see emotions and feelings in other people, and I know that they affect people strongly, but they do not affect me.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to this. In a crisis I may be the only calm person in the room. I can never be overwhelmed by sadness or other negative emotions. But I can also never experience positive emotions.

    You wrote this:
    Faith DOES NOT equal feelings, feelings can come AFTER faith, but are still not guaranteed anywhere that I can think of. Feelings are NOT a prerequisite to become a christian or prove you are a christian.

    Christians say that it is faith that matters, not emotions and feelings. In the past many Christians have told me not to rely on emotions and feelings. Well, there is no need to tell me that; it would be impossible for me to rely on emotions and feelings, because I do not have them.

    If I should become a Christian again I would still not expect my faith to include feelings. What I would expect it to include would be things such as having prayers answered, divine guidance, learning spiritual truths, recognising the work of the Holy Spirit changing me from the inside, having some kind of a relationship with God, and so on. Aspects of Christianity that would help to prove that I was a Christian but that do not involve feelings.

    I know what a struggle it is for you to believe you could ever have a genuine faith since you don't have any feelings at all regarding sin. I bet you have seen and heard people all around you proclaiming how God touched their heart and moved them to tears when they became a christian. Are you able to take a step back and ask are they very "feeling" people to begin with and so God spoke to them using their personal heart language? Are you an extremely thinking person overall? If you are then have you thought of going to churches that are far more for thinking personalities? If you have gone to charismatic churches then they would really make you really feel even more like a fish out of water!

    Compared with me, just about everyone is a “feeling” person. So much so, that I do not really understand what you mean when you write of someone’s personal heart language. However, you have made a brilliant suggestion here, going to a church that is far more for thinking personalities. Do such churches exist? The churches I have visited sometimes do have a few such people there, but the majority are feeling people, and therefore the church activities are mainly aimed at feeling people.

    Maybe some time soon I will begin a new thread and ask if anyone can recommend a church suitable for thinking people as distinct from feeling people.

    Do I feel out of place in charismatic churches? It depends what you mean. If you mean the type of church where they have a long session of what they describe as worship – singing Christian songs – then I agree with you. If I go to a church I usually try to arrive just as the worship singing is coming to an end, because I cannot relate to it at all. Not that I have anything against Christian music. I write music myself, and even as a non-Christian I have written music for Christian poetry, to make it into a song – including one for a woman down under.

    However, if you mean that a charismatic church is one where the Holy Spirit is acting, then I would generally be happy to visit that church. Assuming that their services are “thinking people friendly” of course.

    1.Do you recognize that for any hope of a relationship developing that you have to repent of those sins? Apologize for them, truly willing to do a 180 degrees on how you approach thing? Are you willing to do that? That is doing, not feeling good or bad about it.
    2. Do you wish Jesus to be Lord and Saviour?


    What you are asking in those questions is more or less what I did many years ago, and thought that I had then become a born again Christian. But it was a failure. Although I did my best to live the Christian life, I never had any feedback from God, and eventually I had to accept that I did not know God, and I stopped calling myself a Christian.

    In other words, yes I was willing to do what you suggest. But it did not bring me closer to God. Now I do not know why it all went wrong, but one strong possibility is that it was because I never had that real conviction of sin that is mentioned in the Bible. Maybe for any hope of a relationship developing, I really do have to repent of my sins. Really repent, that is, recognising just how important they are in keeping me from God. Not just doing, but acting because it really matters to me.

    I am therefore not willing to just ask for forgiveness when I do not have a strong conviction of sin. It failed before, and it would fail again. It might even just distract me from finding out what really prevented me from finding a relationship with God.

    I am still a “thinking” person who does not have a real conviction of sin. Without that conviction of sin, is it really possible to become a Christian? My experience suggests no. But I still do not know what to do about it.
     
  14. God's Word

    God's Word Well-Known Member

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    losthope: I've been reading your responses to hopefully understand you as I best as I can. I'm curious as to what you mean when you say that you "found a way to trust God again" four years ago. What, exactly, was this way, if I might ask? I'm also curious as to what compels you to still be inquiring about Christianity after all these years. You said that you've been seeking God since 1966...that's 45 years. If you've genuinely had no conviction of sin during this timeframe, then what do you suppose is compelling you to still be seeking after God/Christ after so many years? I'm just asking. You see, from what you've described as your own experiences and from what I know of my own, I'd have to say that we're polar opposites. IOW, prior to my becoming a Christian many, many years ago, my pretty much daily routine included doing drugs, getting drunk, stealing, lying, gambling and a whole host of other things that I'd never mention on a public forum. This was my way of life from the time that I was about 16 years old until the time that I was 27. Here's the weird part:

    The last thing that I did every night before going to bed (and sometimes during the day) was get down on my knees and pray to God.

    IOW, I always had a conviction of sin and that conviction was coming directly from God. As I look back to what led to my own salvation, there was very little (and I mean VERY LITTLE) human involvement. IOW, I wasn't really preached to that much (hardly ever and, even then, I really wasn't told too much, if anything) and I certainly wasn't attending church during my rebellious years, so my strivings were really coming from God and from God alone. On top of this, even now, having been a Christian for a good many years, I still regularly experience the conviction of sin in the areas that I'm not yet right in, so our experiences, or lack thereof, have certainly been different.

    Anyhow, I'd really be curious as to what happened 4 years ago to prompt you to trust God again and I'd really be curious as to what prompts you to still be seeking after all these years if, according to your own testimony, there's been no conviction from God or no answer to prayers. Could you please elaborate? Thanks.
     
  15. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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  16. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To God's Word
    Before I respond, can you please tell me what IOW means? You used it three times in your recent post.
     
  17. God's Word

    God's Word Well-Known Member

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    "IOW" is short for "in other words". While I'm at it, if I ever use "BTW", it means "by the way". There are limits to the amount of characters/letters that can be used in one post, so I sometimes abbreviate things in case my post runs long...as it usually does. Sorry for the confusion.

    P.S. If you follow this link...

    http://www.christianforums.com/faq/christianforums/#faq_abbreviations

    ...and scroll down the page a bit, it will take you to three different links which, when followed, will give you lists of some different abbreviations that you might/probably will encounter on this forum. I hope this helps.
     
  18. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To God’s Word. Thank you for the information on abbreviations.

    From what you have said about your pre-Christian life, yes it does seem as though we are very different people. Not only in our life style, but also in the fact that God had an influence on you with regard to conviction of sin.

    But in one respect maybe we are similar. I became (or thought I became) a born again Christian at the age of 27, although I had been searching for God for years prior to that. You also mentioned the age of 27. Was that when you were saved too?

    You asked these questions:
    Anyhow, I'd really be curious as to what happened 4 years ago to prompt you to trust God again and I'd really be curious as to what prompts you to still be seeking after all these years if, according to your own testimony, there's been no conviction from God or no answer to prayers. Could you please elaborate? Thanks.

    In order to answer these questions, I need to tell you a little about my experience when I stopped calling myself a Christian. For months I had been getting more and more concerned, recognising that God had never responded to me and that there was no sign of the promised relationship with God. Despite much prayer from me and from my Christian friends, nothing happened. Eventually I had one last desperate night of prayer, knowing that if God did not respond I would have to abandon my faith. Again, nothing happened, and I stopped calling myself a Christian and gave up all my Christian responsibilities in the local church. Not turning my back on Christianity, but recognising that something was wrong, and that the only way left to me to sort it out was to find out what had gone wrong in my attempt to become a Christian, put it right, and then begin again.

    A few Christians understood what I was doing. Most did not and they rejected me. It was a very difficult time for me. I had lost my faith, much of my social life, my hope, and also I had lost my social support because I was no longer a member of the fellowship. It was the most difficult time in my life, and the most difficult and probably the most scary thing that I have ever done. However, I remain convinced that leaving Christianity was the right decision.

    Back then I assumed that I would find out what had gone wrong within a few weeks, or a few months at the most. But the years passed and still I had no explanation. Several theories, but nothing certain.

    Over the year many people have suggested that I should just get onto my knees, ask for forgiveness and ask God back into my life. I was not able to do that. Partly because it had gone wrong once, and as nothing had changed I expected it to go wrong again. And partly because my exit from Christianity was so painful, that I knew I never wanted to suffer that again.

    Now back to your questions. What happened four years ago to allow me to trust God again? Basically, following a suggestion from someone on this web site I was able to put aside the problems of the past, and look instead to a future with God. That enabled me to trust again. It was only a tiny mustard seed of faith, but I hoped that my faith would grow. This time I knew how important it was that God should respond to me, because of my past experience. Unfortunately God did not respond, as far as I am aware, and my faith died for lack of living water to sustain it.

    Your second question was to ask why I am still seeking after all these years. The answer is that the time that I spent as a Christian, and the exit from Christianity, affected me a lot. It represents the most important experience of my life. I am still trying to understand it. The result is that from time to time I try once more to understand, to find out why I had the experience that I did, and maybe even find a way to God. In between there are other times when I am not so concerned. There are also times when I suspect that what people describe as experience of God is just an illusion, the effect of overactive emotions – and my lack of emotions explains why I never had a similar illusion of God acting.

    It has turned out to be a rather longer explanation than I had planned. But I hope that it helps you to understand my situation.
     
  19. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under. I just want to make a few comments.

    You wrote this:
    Yes what you talk about is what has happened to me but it has been a very gradual process.I see what has happened and how God has worked in my life through looking back at where I have come from.

    People have suggested that I should look back to what to what has happened, to see God at work in my life. The trouble is, I look back and see no sign of God acting. I see my search for God, but I do not see God responding.

    What I mean is God knows how we operate, what will speak to us to make us come to believe in Jesus. What will suddenly make us cry eureka I found it!" (like Archimedes) could vary a great deal depending on the person. A beautiful scene declaring the glory of God to one person may have the same effect as objective evidence supporting biblical history on someone else.

    I wonder what would make me cry eureka.

    They used their music to stir people's emotions extremely well which people mistook for as spiritual experiences and made them more vunerable to altar calls....

    I suspect that much of what people describe as spiritual experiences are really emotional experiences that are mistaken for spiritual experiences. If so, my lack of emotions would explain why I never had a similar experience. However, this is a worrying conclusion because it implies that much of what people think comes from God, really comes from their own emotions. Does this mean that many of the people who think they know God, do not really know God at all?

    There are many passages that explain that God will know who loves Him because they obey His commandments. e.g. John 14:21 . Nothing said about how repentant true believers feel, or how many goosebumps they get when praying, or how many people they will convert, or how many miracles they perform - it is obeying God that shows we love Him. Nothing else. And to make it even easier God changes our hearts for that to become possible. ephesians 2:8-10

    There are also passages such as Matthew 7:21-23 when Jesus speaks of people who say that they did all sorts of things in the name of Jesus, but are rejected because Jesus never knew them. I think that acceptance is needed first, before obedience can be of any value. Otherwise it sounds a little like salvation by works.

    You also use that word love. Unfortunately love is something that I can observe in others but have never experienced myself, probably because of my lack of emotions – and my wife is not happy about this.
     
  20. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    *humph* Here you have returned to a christian forum after years of loss of faith, and asking for how to receive real feelings of conviction of sin.
    "Just by chance" you have a christian respondee who has:
    1. had brain surgery that has removed nearly all spiritual feelings that caused a major crisis in faith lasting approx 7 years
    2. that same respondee is able to converse with you several times per day because her kids "just happen" to be on holidays and her non-christian husband "just happens" to be on a major army exercise for a month....
    Time for you to read the joke about A man, a boat, and god :p
    I would say a lot of genuine christians mistake some emotional experiences for spiritual ones and vice versa. Mistaking emotional responses for genuine spiritual conversion would also explain why some people who claimed they made a decision for Christ and go to church for decades can still later become atheists, and not just mere agnostics -fundamentalist atheists out to deconvert any christian they can!

    When I got involved with that women's Bible study group in 2007 I felt like I was always asking them "how they knew God was talking to them" because I had lost all sense of God's presence and special personal messages etc. None of their answers satisfied me. They just knew, they felt it was not from them, it made them feel so much better etc. At the end of the year when my husband got posted to a very remote mining town area I did not have any christian fellowship at all. However thanks to the internet I listened to so many sermons and discernment shows via mp3 - again "just by chance" happening to explain why I had been rightly suspicious about everything they had been telling me. I have realised feelings can actually be a real hinderance to true faith because people start looking for the gifts not the Giver. That is a completely different subject altogether and would be better on another thread.

    Yes, Jesus knows who His sheep are. His sheep believe in Him, and they demonstrate that faith by seeking to please Him and follow his commandments. psalm 119 The poet does use emotional words (as expected in poetry) but the poet is demonstrating, doing, working to please God. No talk about trying to feel repentant before he feels he can qualify as a believer.

    I am sure she knows you love her by the way you do things for her, even if you personally may not actually be experiencing any real feelings while doing those things.
     
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