Friday, January 26, 2024

Going Through the Motions

By: Lauren Thomas 

Have you ever felt that you were “going through the motions”? If you’ve been a Christian for some length of time, I’m sure you have – or will – come to a time when it feels as though you are doing all the Christian things but not feeling them. In these experiences, Bible reading will lack a discernable fresh insight, worship will seem absent of the strong emotions it once inspired, and going to church feels more like a chore than an encounter with God.  

I have heard some Christians express the opinion that when their spirituality feels this way, it is somehow wrong to continue to “go through the motions.” If it doesn’t feel authentic to them, they see no value in continuing spiritual practices, such as Bible reading, worship, church attendance, etc. 


Maybe I’m missing something, but why is it wrong to do the right thing if you don’t “feel” into it?


When I read through the Old Testament, I see indictments against Israel when they continued ritualistic worship without their hearts being in it. In the Gospels, I see “woes” against religious leaders who appear righteous while being evil in their hearts. 


But I think we’re talking about something different here. 


There was a time I studied piano performance on grant in college. I had to log hours of weekly practice. Perhaps I was learning a beautiful piece, meant to be played with strong emotion. Not every practice session filled me with the strong feelings that the piece of music communicated. Sometimes, I experienced frustration as I teased out complicated finger positions or deciphered notes and chords that were hard to play. Some days I dreaded entering the practice room. Other times – especially when I began to know the piece, when my muscles remembered the movements, and my fingers could find the right keys – my soul sored with the music. 


Does the fact I didn’t always feel something pleasant or profound mean that the practice was somehow wrong, inferior, wasted?


Far from it! 


Those times spent practicing – no matter how I felt – brought me to a deeper understanding of the music and improved my ability to perform that music well. 


Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.

1 Timothy 4:15 (ESV)


Keep practicing! It might be challenging. It might not feel good. But there is worth in consistent observance of spiritual practices. You will know God better. You will grow closer to Him. You will begin to honor and glorify Him more. (It would take another blog post just to list out all the ways that consistency in your spiritual life is beneficial!) And you will once again feel the music, I promise!


Keep reading your Bible, even if you don’t understand it.


Keep praying, even if it feels that God isn’t listening.


Keep worshiping, even if you don’t feel anything.


Keep going to church and engaging in relationships, even when it feels like a chore.


Just keep practicing! There is value in “going through the motions.”



Have you ever felt that you were going through the motions? What did you do about it?

Do you see value in engaging in spiritual practices, even when you don’t experience instant results? What are some of those values?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by, we love hearing from you. Please feel free to contact us with any prayer requests or questions by commenting below or emailing us at the About Us page.