I Encounter God by Faith, Not Feelings

I Encounter God by Faith, Not Feelings

I remember when I was a “joy-impaired” and “encounter-impaired” Christian. This was highlighted to me during the mid to late 1990s when there was a fresh move of God on many lives. During that time, multitudes experienced God in dramatic, life-changing ways; but when I would receive prayer, nothing happened. I saw others right by me touched powerfully (shaking, falling, seeing visions, and other ecstatic experiences), but I was like the Rock of Gibraltar. It was frustrating.

The devil would “encourage” me at that time by saying, “There is something wrong with you! Actually, there is something seriously wrong with you. If there wasn’t, then you would be having encounters like everyone else.” I would meditate on those words, believe them, and then try harder to experience God. Things only got worse.

The Lord finally broke through my condemnation and disappointment. He told me, “Steve, of course there is something wrong with you. That’s why Jesus died for you. Get over it and trust me to take care of anything dangerously wrong with you. And realize you are misunderstanding how to receive from Me. You are trying to receive by feeling instead of faith. It won’t work if you do it that way. You must believe you are being touched powerfully even if you feel nothing. If you believe, then the feelings, experiences and encounters will come.” Oh, how I needed those words, and I am sure that many of you reading this need those words, too.

I followed this heavenly instruction. I purposed to receive by faith everything that was prayed over me. I didn’t care anymore if I felt things or not. It was a whole new victorious mindset which God gave me.

I finally relaxed and received. Amazingly, once I did, I actually began to have my own experiences, because experience follows faith. It is wonderful to trust God!


  • I need to wait to feel something before I believe God is doing something in me 
  • Faith is not as important as feelings 
  • I am the only one who feels the way I feel 
  • My level of maturity is determined by my level of outward spiritual manifestations
  • I receive from God primarily through my feelings


  • I am a joy-filled Christian
  • Something powerful always happens when I pray or receive prayer
  • I am connected to God even when it doesn’t feel like it
  • I receive the blessings of God by faith not feelings
  • Right feelings and experiences follow right beliefs


  • Realize you are not alone in how you feel – Most people battle the same negative feelings resulting from comparison, past experiences, perfectionism, fear, and the avoidance of disappointment. Yes, the intensity of these feelings may vary, but they are very common. You are not alone in how you feel. That reality helps us overcome the “there is something uniquely wrong with you” lie.
  • Receive all other parts of our salvation in the same way as we receive eternal life– When we come to Christ, we “believe in our heart and confess with our mouth” and then we are saved (Romans 10:10). Even if we don’t feel saved, our belief that we are saved is the key for this new life to manifest in us. This is true for all aspects of our salvation. The same way we get in the kingdom is the same way we advance: hearing good news and believing it. 

Become convinced of the supernatural power of honor – ““Honor your father and mother . . . that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:3). “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41). We encounter the life of God when we believe something supernatural is happening through heart postures like honor. This will, in turn, accelerate our receiving by faith in other ways as well.

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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.