Friday, July 20, 2012

Faith or Feelings

Living By Emotions
Hebrews 11:1-9
 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
It is important for us to realize that the first sin ever committed was that of choosing to follow feelings rather than to obey God’s commands. Feelings in themselves are not evil. God created us to feel many things such as pain, joy and love but, since the time of man’s fall, people have lived according to the dictates of their feelings, indulging in the desires of the flesh. What happens when someone lives by feelings alone or by following the path of least resistance? A life based on feelings is a life that invites the sin of disobedience and our fallen nature seldom feels like obeying–––it usually wants to do its own thing. 
If we live by our feelings only, we may tend to attain our doctrine or spiritual teaching from feelings. If we believe that God is with us because “He feels so close,” we will also believe there are times when he has forsaken us and feels so far away. We are assured by His Word that God’s presence does not come by feelings, but by faith. Hebrews 13:5b....for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. We don’t always have to feel God’s presence to realize the truth of His Word.
Procrastination is a consequence of living by feelings and not by what we know we need to do. When we give over to our feelings, the worse we feel and find ourselves overwhelmed and unable to do the task we are responsible for. We battle laziness and consequently, we don’t grow in our Christian faith.
The Lord gives to us a wonderful example of how to cope with human feelings. Jesus Christ, as fully Man, fully God experienced all human emotions and provides for us a model for dealing with our feelings. Christ admitted His feelings and gave to His disciples a glimpse of His soul being exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death (Matthew 26:38.) Feelings cannot be ignored they must be dealt with honestly. To admit our bitterness, depression, hatred or passion is the first step in learning to come to grips with our feelings. Christ requested support from His disciples, His friends. He asked for prayerful intercession and watchful companionship during His dark hour of trial. Christ also understood, in His emotional suffering, that nothing would separate Him from the love of the Father, nor would their relationship be affected by the weight of this anguish. As believers, we need to realize that our acceptance before God is unrelated to our feelings (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 2 Corinthians 5:7. Trusting in a Sovereign and Holy God is essential in our walk of faith and should not be perpetuated by the many feelings that dominate our Christian life.
Thought: When we are obedient to the will of God, emotional peace and calm come but not before. The assurance of joy flows when we fix our eyes on “....Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).  When we learn to give thanks for all things, whether we feel like it or not, a new liberty in our Christian life occurs as we realize our faith need not be tied to our feelings.

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