When you don’t feel like dieting, you probably should. When you don’t feel like balancing your checkbook, you probably should. When you don’t feel like working out, you probably should. When you don’t feel like reading the bible…you probably should. I’d even go as far as saying, when you don’t feel like talking about Jesus with someone, you probably should.
All too often we only attempt those things we feel like doing. Now, while that might be okay when you are considering what kind of hobby or activity you’d like to do on a Saturday afternoon, it rarely works in the real world. There were many days when I simply didn’t feel like facing those 35 sixth graders. And days when I didn’t feel like training with my cross-country runners. And when I got home from those activities, I didn’t feel like mowing the lawn. But, time after time, I did each of those things. And, surprisingly (to me), those were some of the best days I ever had.
Believing is an experience as real as any experience, yet multitudes are looking for something more–some electric sensation that will bring a thrill to their physical bodies, or some other spectacular manifestation. While there may be times when powerful, sensual feelings accompany spiritual activities, the Bible says that a man is justified by faith, not by feelings (Romans 3:28). A person is saved by trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross and not by bodily sensations or religious ecstasy.
Is there a place for feelings to accompany faith? Of course there is! Some of my most memorable spiritual times were accompanied by powerful sensations. But those feeling came as a result of the saving faith in Jesus. As Billy Graham once said, feeling never saved a single soul. Neither has faith never acted upon. It takes real people with real faith who do something about it.
Since my sister-in-law’s recent death, I have become more aware of some of the fears that many older people begin to have. Fear of illness, fear of not being able to provide for your family, fear that a member of the family may be drifting into a bad life-style, and, of course, fear of death itself. These fears are feelings. When I begin to understand something of Christ’s love for me as a sinner, I respond to Him with a love that has feeling. But that love is also a love that is above the sensual human love. It is a love that is free from all self. The Bible says, Perfect love casteth out all fear (I John 4:18). And those who love Christ have a confidence in Him that raises them above all fear. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer (Psalm 94:19).
We just need to be reminded from time to time.