Question:

You may not know me, but I have seen what you wrote and you seem wise. I ask that you give me a genuine answer. Here goes pouring out my heart's doubts:

I am not sure that I have received Christ. I don't know if my feeling was genuine and God was touching me, or if it was my mind forcing me to think like that. I have seem a lot of things, and wonder why would God make these things happen? If He could automatically build us to love Him with all our hearts, why wouldn't He? Even those who accepted Him still sin, so the world seems full of darkness. If He loves us, how could He subject some of us to hell? I don't think I'm the right person. My grandpa is dying of liver cancer, and I don't really care. Why don't I feel anything toward Him? When will I finally know when I have accepted Him, and what do I do after I have? How do I build up my relationship with Him? And how do I know I love Him or fear Him, and because of the fear am I faking the love?

Thank you for listening to my rambling heart. An answer would be very appreciated.


Answer:

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever" (Psalm 111:10).

Like many people, you judge your spiritual state by your emotions instead of by your reason. Emotions should be a reflection of what you do and not what drives your decisions. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). "Walking wisely" refers to following God's commandments; thus, following your heart is different from walking wisely.

Paul makes a similar statement but contrasts being carnally minded with following God. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8). This then explains Jeremiah's statement: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Emotional living, following after what you feel at the moment, is essentially living after the flesh. Look at the wicked and realize how often God's laws are broken because people are too caught up in their feelings to think about what is the proper thing to do. "But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed" (II Peter 2:12 NASB95).

This doesn't mean following God is emotionless, quite the opposite actually, but emotions are not what drives the child of God's decisions.

Most people start following God because of their fear of what God may do if they don't obey Him. But as they grow in knowledge of God and His Laws, that fear is replaced by love. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love" (I John 4:18). Love becomes the driving force to obey God. "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:2-3). The one who loves God and is keeping God's commandments has no need for fear because he knows where he stands with God.

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).

Why doesn't God force people to love Him? Because He didn't want robots. He wants people who have freely chosen to serve Him.

Let me put your question in a different light. If the government wants people to live quiet, peaceable lives, why do they have jails? The simple answer is that when there is free choice, you will have people who freely choose to sin. Those people have to be punished; otherwise, there would be no deterrent to sin -- no reason not to sin.

In regards to salvation, your wording leads me to believe you have been following after some denominational teachings instead of your Bible. I would like you to look at: What Must I Do to be Saved? and How to Become a Christian. Read through all the verses and honestly compare what you have done to what you find in the Scriptures.