Even the most devout and faithful men and women of God have faced moments where their heart was not in their worship, where their private prayer life faltered, or where they said things in public they weren’t sure they believed.

For many of us, there have been times when we’ve felt like we are simply going through the motions – we might show up to church service, but did we really want to? We might give, but was it done in joy or out of social obligation? We might raise our hands in praise, but was it just because we thought we should?

Of course, there are people for whom their entire Christian walk is an act. Especially in western nations where Christianity was the default culture for centuries, countless people have espoused beliefs that they didn’t truly practice behind closed doors.

But a Christian in name only is not what we’re referring to here. We’re talking about going through the motions of a life of faith, which we’ve all been guilty of in one way or another. It’s often derided as a superficial, fake, or disingenuous attitude that we should cast from our lives – and that may be true. So what’s the alternative if you have doubts? If you haven’t heard from the Lord lately? If you don’t feel His presence, or don’t know if you want to right now? Should you stop attending church or gathering with believers? Should you not raise your voice up in worship? Should you neglect coming to God with your frustrations?

In response, just look at some of Scripture’s most prominent figures. Let’s start with Thomas, Jesus’ own disciple. His doubt is so iconic that the very name is associated it as a precautionary tale. And yet, as a result of his earnest struggle with Jesus, he emerged as one of the most prolific missionaries of the early church. His influence is credited with the existence of Christian heritage in parts of India and much of the Middle East! Would it have been better if Thomas had not committed to gathering with the disciples in the aftermath of Christ’s Crucifixion?

Likewise, all of Israel’s patriarchs led lives full of doubts, questions, and struggles with God. Even the name Israel, which God gave to Jacob, means “Wrestles with God.” Gideon, famously, did not believe God’s promises and asked for multiple confirmations before he would act on God’s direction. Abraham laughed in the face of what God told him (Genesis 17:15-21)! “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

In their disbelief, their doubt, and their struggles, all of these great figures of faith continued to walk out their relationship with the Lord. Without exception, God the Father continued to do wonderful things through all of them.

So, should you live your Christian walk by just going through the motions? Of course not. It’s always important to be genuine and to seek out a more vibrant, intimate relationship with the Lord your God. But sometimes, all we can do is to keep up that walk, whether we feel the inspiration to or not. Take heart – many great souls have been where you are today.

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