Monday, October 10, 2016

Faith and Feelings

Series - Profile - Questions

"In my Christian walk I wish I felt more ________________."    One from the profile questionnaire filled out two weeks ago.
Answers:  (from most to least)
righteous - not so much being, but doing
Presence (His)

30-40% listed the top two answers.

So, this week, Faith & Feelings - a view from Scripture

#1.  We are created emotional beings in the image of God.  However, we must be careful about conveying human feelings and emotions to God. He is NOT a human being.  He is a BEING but not a human being.

But in scripture we find various examples of emotions:
God - Isa. 1:14, 42:1 - love, hate, anger, grief, joy, jealousy
Jesus - @ Lazarus' tomb, over Jerusalem - Matt. 26:37-38 - in Gethsemane

Holy Spirit - "do not grieve"  "envies intensely", Rom. 8:26

Not to experience intense feelings makes a person something less than human, healthy

#2.  Man's emotional make-up suffered in the Fall.  It is NOW seriously flawed!!!

This does Not mean all emotions are bad!  Sin tainted everything but they are not all bad.
2 Tim. 1:4, Rom. 12:15, Gal. 5:22-23 - fruit of the Spirit
Example:  Puritans referred to "holy emotions" - those that line up with God's Word.

It does mean your emotions are unreliable, untrustworthy!
Examples:  Can you be loved and not feel loved?  Secure, smart, beautiful, thin, capable, accepted, wealthy, wrong?
Can you be moved by a fictional  novel?  An animated movie?

Because our emotions are unreliable (easily manipulated...)
#3.  Emotions should be measured by something that is reliable (trustworthy) - God's Word!!!

#4.  If the emotions is legitimate, it should be accepted, cultivated, and enjoyed.
Example:  Song of Solomon 1:1-4

But ----
#5.  If the emotion is illegitimate  (wrong, ungodly, unholy), it should be mastered!  Compare:  Gen. 4:7
Emotions on throne of heart OR God on throne of heart.

NOTE:  You man not be able to control the emotion, BUT you can control the response to the emotion.
Example:  response to wrong attraction, or when have been insulted

Back to the list at the beginning:
1.  Is there anything wrong with desiring these feelings?  emotions???
2.  Anything wrong with allowing that Unfulfilled desire to detract you from doing right? (living the Christian life?)  Derail your faith walk?

#6.  Sometimes the negative feelings are legitimate, necessary, helpful - in a sense a blessing.
Example:  David after Bathsheba - Psalm 51 - He felt guilty, dirty, unworthy, failed God, Israel, Uriah, Bathsheba!
A. Why?  Because he was all these feelings but they led him to repent and get his relationship right with God.
B.  Was that a bad thing??

Negative feelings can serve a good purpose!!  (can awaken, correct, instruct, develop, motivate us!)
Matt. 5:3, 4, 5 - poor in spirit, mourn, hunger and thirst for righteousness

SUMMARY & CONCLUSION to Faith and Feeling

God gifted us with feelings
They were perfect - in Eden
They are now flawed - seriously flawed
They will be fixed - part of redemption process

Meanwhile -
Identify, subdue, master the "unholy emotions" - take charge of the response

Identify, cultivate, enjoy the "holy emotions" - they are a gift from God

Allow both (holy and unholy) to be useful instruments in God's hands for developing your Christian character.

After all that, Trust God   AND   Walk on!!! - in the direction He's called you and saved you!

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