“When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’” (Matthew 8:10 NLT)
When I first began to follow Jesus there was a small tract that had a drawing of a train with an engine, one car and a caboose. On the engine was written “Faith,” the middle car had the word “Facts,” and the caboose carried the word “Feelings.”
Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8a: “For by grace your have been saved through faith…” The writer of the Hebrew letter writes in 11:6a: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…” There are dozens of other verses that share the same point, but my point is – there is no salvation, no growth or development, no confidence in our walk with Jesus without faith.
We’re saved by faith, we walk by faith, we’ll inherit eternal life by faith. Every inch of progress we make as a child of God depends on faith, but it’s not just faith in a general sense. Faith as a believer must center, grow, develop, and fully depend on Christ and Christ alone.
In Christian Faith, it’s not faith plus anything. It’s faith alone, in Christ alone. What’s my point? Like the “train” illustration above, faith is what “pulls” the train, but it’s not “blind” faith in an unknown. Our faith as followers of Jesus is an intelligent deduction based on historical facts that prove themselves in and through our life’s journey.
Jesus is an historical figure whose identity can be verified by extrabiblical sources. That He walked the pathways of this earth is easily proven. His miraculous birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension was witnessed by hundreds of people. The writings of the New Testament chronicled easily identifiable dates, locations, and people as they shared the story of our Savior.
All of which give evidence that our faith is clearly in verifiable facts, not simply emotionally stirred feelings. Craig Groeschel wrote: “Feelings are not necessarily evidence of the presence of God. If you always felt God, you wouldn’t need faith.”
Corporate worship is great, but the stirring music and powerful messages aren’t what sustains our faith. Small group meetings and corporate gatherings to learn and pray together aren’t what our walk with Jesus is dependent upon. While all those things help and encourage us, foundationally, seeing Jesus with our eye of faith, placing our trust for eternal life solely in Him, and walking confidently that He is who He claimed to be and will do what He claimed He will do – one day return to take us home to heaven – these are the cornerstones of our faith.
You can have closeness to Jesus without emotion, but you can’t be certain that emotion is evidence of His presence. Why is that important to know? Because we’re emotionally oriented beings. We too often depend on certain emotions to que us to certain behavior and/or certain beliefs, that if missing we may doubt exist.
For example, we can leave church thinking, “I just wasn’t feeling it today!” with the clear implication, “God didn’t show up today.” Or we have a burden and we pray and ask God to do something, but we feel no affirmation, so we conclude either He’s not listening or we’re not praying the right way.
I learned a long time ago, if you do the right thing, you’ll feel the right way. What does that mean? It means emotion follows faith, not the other way around. We are too often driven by how we feel, when God’s plan is for us to be driven by our faith in Him.
May we be driven by faith like the Roman soldier in the above verse, who had absolute confidence that Jesus would do what He said, without any evidence but His faith in the person and character of Jesus.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “Faith and Feeling”
Brother Ed – what a great confirmation of what our small group has been talking about and studying through the book of Romans – “faith alone”, not “faith plus”, and not “feelings” to drive or evidence something. This will be a great confirmation and encouragement from the Father through you. Thank you brother!
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