I always consider how tainted we are by our human condition. We are held captive by time, shackled to these ever-changing emotions, prisoner to this world and all of its limitations and constraints.
We as humans are always looking for a good feeling that won’t go away.
For this reason it has been said many times that faith is not a feeling.
Choosing to trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior is not always associated with a rush of feelings. There are (usually) no fireworks and lightning bolts, there is no choir of angels singing in your mind and your heart isn’t forever dipped in warm honey, (as nice as that sounds).
Putting your faith in Jesus is not a constant good mood, it isn’t neverending elation, it doesn’t necessarily quell the ups and downs of life. And most importantly for people to remember, it does not eliminate all fears, doubts, insecurities, and questions. Faith in Christ is not an antidote for the bad and ugly feelings of this world. In fact, as followers of Christ we encounter plenty of bad feelings.
We may sometimes feel despicable and unworthy to even be in His presence, sad for those who are so lost and without God, frustrated that they choose the wide road of pain and loneliness, and of course rejected and persecuted by the world while suffering for His Name. Jesus said,
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first…If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.
John 15:18, 20
Because if we truly have taken up our cross to follow Jesus, we know that persecution and suffering in the name of Christ await us.
We know that Jesus doesn’t promise good times, good feelings, or great moods. Some days, God feels as near as a close friend and others it’s like He is a heaven and earth away. I’ve heard many Christians say that they have never had that “spiritual” feeling, whatever that means. Because trusting in God and reading His Word isn’t about our feelings, moods and emotions. In fact, if I sit in church and every Sunday I find that I “feel good” about my life, myself, and this world, there’s probably not much of The Bible being preached, or it is being taken out of context to satisfy what our “itching ears want to hear.”
Don’t misunderstand me, being a Christian doesn’t mean we should feel miserable all the time; it doesn’t mean we can never feel good in Christ. Because even though it isn’t the point to seek God to strive to feel good, there are some wonderful “feelings” that Jesus does offer when you begin to learn the process of putting your life in His hands.
Secure in His love, in awe of His creation, loved in fellowship with God’s people, safe in His arms and out of reach of evil, thankful that He is with us, strong and bold because he is our protector, hopeful for His plans in our lives, joyful in anticipation of His return.
Jesus isn’t about our feelings, but I know that sometimes I am overwhelmed with the vast love and all-encompassing might of God, and the knowledge that He cares about an insignificant person like me and went to the cross to save my life. How can I not feel amazed by that fact?
(My favorite feeling of all: Blessed assurance that Jesus is mine!)
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
I can feel encouraged, content, comforted, joyful, peaceful, inspired, adored, protected, hopeful, happy to be saved from the world.
Because allowing Jesus to take control of my life gives me the peace that surpasses all understanding, overwhelming joy, and contentment because whether I am at the top of the mountain or in the valley, I am His forever.
Jesus gives us the promise of eternal life with Him, though we will suffer in this life. He left with us the Holy Spirit so that we will never be alone and lost without His Truth:
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
There are countless stories of persecuted Christians who could face the most terrible situations because, whether it was the knowledge or feeling or both, they knew that their God would not forsake them. Paul suffered but with Christ, he overcame and was given the gift of the “good feelings” of God:
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…
1 Philippians 4:12
How many songs of praise and thanksgiving have been sung for God’s great love and mercy?
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4: 6-8
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness, I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the lord is your strength.
In this life, we will suffer. We will go through these human feelings of anguish, despair, pain, and loneliness. Life will continue to be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, highs and lows. Sometimes our emotions change so often our heads spin. We are creatures of many feelings, but we don’t have to be prisoner to them. We have Christ. We have the Holy Spirit. We can be encouraged, hopeful, and we can possess unspeakable joy because we know the promise of a Savior. Faith is not a feeling, but let’s face it, it feels really good to have faith in Christ forever.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.