June 29, 2016

Faith and Feelings

“The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17c (NIV)

“Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!” John 13:17 (TEV)

Do you live by faith or by feelings? As a Christ follower, the Bible says we are to live by faith. What’s the difference? Author and counselor, Neil Anderson, noted, “If you believe what you feel, instead of believing the truth, your walk will be as inconsistent as your feelings. If what you believe does not reflect the truth, then what you feel does not reflect reality. The order of Scripture is to live by faith according to what God says is true. Your emotions will follow …. We don’t feel our way into good behavior; we behave our way into good feeling.”

Jesus put it like this,

“Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!” John 13:17 (TEV)

He is saying that, if you wait until you feel like doing what is right, you may never do it. But, if you do what is right, you will feel good about it. Your feelings will catch up when you act on the truth you know to be right.

So, what do you do when your feelings do not reflect the truth? Your feelings are neither right nor wrong. You don’t have to feel guilty about your emotions. They are an important part of your being. Learning to acknowledge our emotions is a critical part of our freedom and maturity. You can’t be right with God and not be real. Don’t repress your feelings. Learn to express them to God. Revealing your feelings is the first step to healing. Tell Him exactly how you feel. The Psalms are a good example and model for expressing our feelings to God. Being spiritual doesn’t mean you cover up how you feel and deny your emotions. It means you are real and honest with God about how you feel. It means you obey the truth, not because you feel like it, but because you believe it is the truth. Your feelings, Jesus said, would catch up with your obedience. “… how happy you will be if you put it into practice.”

God, help me to be honest with You about my feelings. Look into my heart today. I want to be real. Heal the hurts of my heart that I covered up because it was too painful to express. Teach me to walk by faith, believing that my feelings will catch up with my obedience to Your truth. I want to be led by Your Spirit and not by my emotions.