Longing for God when my Heart has Grown Cold – Session Three
Longing for God when my Heart has Grown Cold – Session Three
In this session we look at if there is a way back to God after our hearts have gone cold and the longing has stopped.

This study guide was produced by Keswick Ministries. Keswick Ministries hosts a Convention for 3 weeks each summer in the English Lake District. They also run year-round teaching and training events and produce digital and printed resources. The central vision of Keswick Ministries is to see the people of God equipped, encouraged and refreshed to love and live for Christ in his world. We hope you are blessed by this series.

Getting Started

If only I could feel the way I did when I became a Christian / led that summer mission / celebrated Easter over a meal with my home group.’
In 1964 the Righteous Brothers recorded a song called ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’. As believers, sometimes we too lose the ‘feelin’. Now, sometimes feelings can be fleeting, or can depend upon our health and
circumstances. But sometimes it’s more than that. Maybe your Bible reading was getting dry, so you neglected it. God didn’t seem to be answering your prayers, so you stopped praying. In church you feel overused and underappreciated. Busyness has sucked the joy out of your worship, and your Christian life, which once was technicolour, has faded to black and white. No-one else may have noticed – you’re still serving in church and involved in various rotas and ministries – but you know that your relationship with God is not what it once was. Your devotion feels skin-deep. You’ve stopped longing for God. Is there a way back? Is it possible to recover the love you once had?

From the Bible – Revelation 2:1–7

1 ‘To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand
and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deed
your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate
wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but
are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have
endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at
first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you
did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your
lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favour: you hate
the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of
life, which is in the paradise of God.

Discussion Points

If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream.

(Francis Chan, Crazy Love, p. 94)

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.

(Don Carson, For the Love of God, Volume 2, January 23)

Personal Application

As believers, we are supposed to spur one another on to love God more, but often we are content to settle for the status quo. We don’t object to mediocre discipleship as long as we’re surrounded by like-minded friends! How can you break this mindset? How can you create an environment in your small group or church where together you strive for holiness more and more?
For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen and a wife (Luke 14:18–20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his
enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth . . . These are not vices. They are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening, and reading and decorating and travelling and investing and TV watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can be deadly substitutes for God.

(John Piper, A Hunger for God, pp. 14–15)

Prayer Time

Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;
renew our days as of old.

(Lamentations 5:21)