When I was young, I took piano lessons. Hard to believe. I wish I would have had a better piano teacher…she was a great person but maybe she wasn’t really a teacher. Anyway, I remember learning to play (from my intro to piano book) a little song called “Feelings”. The words were something like, “Feelings, nothing more than feelings”. (Boring…nothing more than boring).
Having grown up “Pentecostal”, I was taught to rely on my “feelings” when it comes to my faith. Well, maybe I wasn’t “taught” this by word but by deed and observation, I was. the message was when God moves in a service then He approves. If your life is blessed, then God must approve of you. If you “feel” God He is present. And sure, there are times when we can feel God’s presence and there are seasons we can see His hand working in our lives. However, I’ve come to realize that faith is more about putting aside my feelings; my emotions and simply believing; believing when I do not “feel it”.
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Do we really want to rely on our heart to keep us informed about God?
Two things have come to mind recently.
The first is many times in life we do not “feel” like doing something. Often times, I will commit to do something that later I just do not “feel” like doing. Since I made a commitment, I push through and keep my word. In life we often have to do things we do not “feel” like doing. Simple put, that’s life.
The second thing I’ve though about recently is the fact that we often think because God uses something to speak to us, then He must approve of that thing. Since we had a “feeling” or “emotion” toward God based on a movie, a book, a song, a tv show then God must approve of those things. I don’t think so. I think God can use any medium to speak to us…maybe He is just using the one He knows we are watching, reading or listening to. He can do that. He is that big. He spoke through a donkey once…I don’t think a movie is a big challenge for Him.
This logic is indicative of our need to “humanize” God. We want to attribute human characteristics to a Holy God. It doesn’t work. God is not human or as Jesus said, “I am not a man that I should lie…”
Here’s the bigger issue…if we base or faith on what we “feel”, when (NOTICE I said WHEN not IF) things get hard, our faith will fail. Faith is about believing when you do not feel God; when you do not see. It’s about believing in what you do not see. It’s about believing when you haven’t heard from Him in a while. It’s about believing what He said in His Word and what He has spoken to you even when you do not see it. It is knowing that He keeps His promises even when everything around you is insane and not aligning with those promises.
Read Hebrews 11
Hebrews 11:1 -3
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
No matter where you are in your Christian faith, you will find yourself in seasons of testing. In those seasons, God is working behind the seasons. You may not see Him; you probably will not “feel” Him but He is there working out the very BEST thing for you. (That’s not to say that the best thing is easy or simple or will not hurt just that God sees the end at the beginning and works all things for good.)