I have been feeling spiritually empty. I mean I know God exists and Jesus died on the cross for my sins but recently I have been feeling this emptiness inside of me. I desperately want to heal my spiritual faith in the Lord, it’s just I don’t know what to do. I was brought up in a liberal catholic family who said you don’t need to go to church to get into heaven but now I don’t know what to do to heal my spirit. Is there a way to heal and restore the faith in my heart?
There is a way to heal and restore faith. I think that many believers have bad times in their spiritual life, when their faith wavers. For example, in Mark 9:24 we read about the father of an epileptic child. The father is struggling with his faith and cries to Jesus: ”I believe; help my unbelief!” I’m sure many of us can empathise with that father. So what does the Bible say about faith?
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (14) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (15) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? … (17) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
To have faith, we have to hear the word of Christ. I have personally found in my life, that when I neglect reading the Bible and praying to God, my faith fades, and conversely, when I focus more on listening to God through his word and praying to him, my faith is strengthened. I feel this is a critical area of our spiritual life. Practically, I have found using a Bible reading chart that takes the reader through the Old Testament once a year and the New Testament twice a year, very helpful. But there are many good structured ways of reading God’s word.
You say your family says you don’t need to go to church to get into heaven – let’s have a look at what the Bible says.
Firstly, it is a common misconception that heaven is the place of reward – the Bible does not say this. In fact the Bible says the opposite – see John 3:13 & Acts 2:34. The place of reward is right here on earth – God will reward the faithful with immortality at the return of Christ, when he will raise the dead and all the faithful will receive immortality together. Hebrews 11:39-40; Revelation 5:9-10; Isaiah 2:2-4
Secondly, we read in Hebrews that we should not neglect to meet together – Hebrews 10:23-25:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (24) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, (25) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
It is very important to meet with with people who believe the gospel, and very important to regularly remember what our Lord did for us by eating the bread and drinking the wine as the apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, (24) and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (25) In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (26) For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
We also get some good advice via the prophet Malachi – Malachi 3:16-18
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. (17) “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. (18) Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
In conclusion, our faith can be increased by humbly praying to God and seeking God, which involves reading God’s message to us. I’ll list 2 passages from Scripture for you to think about, which I find very helpful:
Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (12) What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? (13) Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. (14) Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (15) The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. (16) The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. (17) When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. (18) The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
And the 2nd passage which is an overview of how a new Christian should live – Romans 6:1-18:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? (2) By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (3) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (6) We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (7) For one who has died has been set free from sin. (8) Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (9) We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (10) For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. (11) So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (13) Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (14) For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (15) What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (16) Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (17) But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, (18) and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.