Feelings come and go, but truth is abiding
Nov. 10, 2010 at 5:10 a.m.
By Raymond Smith
Some Christians are disappointed that they are not always on cloud nine in respect to their their faith. Some even begin to doubt their salvation because of a lack of strong feelings toward God or Jesus. We read in the Bible that God wishes us to live by faith and not by sight, but that is small comfort - we want to see him and to know Him. Knowing is not based on feelings because our feelings often betray us. Trust God instead of your feelings; our feelings tend to fall into proper alignment when our mind is on Him. Someone has said that we are under feeling toward our friends and over feeling toward our enemies.
It's easy to get sidetracked by a misplaced dependency upon our feelings and our imperfect performance. Satan loves to accuse us when we don't measure up to the high calling we've received. But take heart, salvation is not based upon our performance. On the other hand, H.W. Beecher said, "feeling does not become stronger in the religious life by waiting, but by using it."
When we begin to doubt, we need to consult the Bible that holds many precious promises for us. First John 5:13 says, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
Why is it that some people have such deep feelings when they find God, and others who expected some great emotional upheaval are devoid of feeling? John Ruskin said, "The ennobling difference between one man and another ... it is precisely in this, that one feels more than another." It is true that some people are physiologically melancholy while others are more enthusiastic or high-spirited.
No one seems to know why this is, but we can make several educated guesses. First, some people are naturally more emotional than others. Others are so protective of their feelings that not much can break through to them. Second, some people find a great release in their spirit when their burden of sin is lifted. Of course, we are all sinners, but some are aware that they have sinned sins that the world perceives as especially offensive.
Third, there is the dawning of truth. We are all aware of the feeling of exhilaration when an answer to a troubling problem comes to us out of the blue. To all of a sudden grasp the idea that God loves us can be an emotional experience. Jeremy Taylor writes, "Many secrets of religion are not perceived - till they be felt, and are not felt but in the day of a great calamity. And, to begin to really believe that we will share in God's glory throughout eternity can be a thrilling discovery. Christian love, either toward God or toward man, is an affair of the will, but the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and President of Strong Families of Victoria