Faith is simply taking God at His Word and obeying. Regardless of circumstances, despite arguments of logic and reason, and regardless of how he or she felt, each person mentioned in Hebrews 11 believed God and His word and chose to be obedient.
The Bible promises that, for those of us who truly love God, everything that happens in our lives will have the effect of molding us into Christ’s image. Romans 8:28-29. Some of us may have prayed a prayer similar to this: “Lord, I pray You’d make me more like You. I pray that You would conform me to the image of Christ.”
Have you ever wished that God would give you an anaesthetic through a tough assignment or trial so you can be unconscious while He performs surgery on your heart to conform you to Christ’s perfect character? You want the result but not the painful process.
But God doesn’t work that way. The Lord is concerned about what we go through. He is more concerned about how we respond to what we go through. That response is a matter of our wills. He allows the trials, temptations, and pressures of life to come so that we have the opportunity to respond either by trusting our feelings and life experiences or by taking Him at His word.
God created us in His image. Part of His image is that we are emotional beings. Feelings aren’t wrong. Even Christ had feelings. He didn’t “try not to feel.” He did not hide His emotions; instead, He took them into His relationship with His Father. He was honest, real, authentic. In the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, Scripture tells us that Jesus was “distressed,” “deeply grieved,” “troubled,” and “in agony.”Jesus expressed how He felt and trusted the Father in the midst of His feelings.
Feelings are not faith – Proverbs 14:12
1. Feelings can lead you astray
2. Jacob was led astray by his feelings – Genesis 37:32-35
Sometimes we feel things very deeply but as strong and as fluctuating as our feelings are, God’s Word is truer than
- anything we feel
- anything we experience
- any circumstance we will ever face
- anything in the world
We, too, have immeasurable freedom to be candid with the Lord about our feelings, to tell Him honestly where we are and what is going on in our lives.
Everything in life may change, but God’s Word remains constant. His truth never changes. Catch a glimpse of how faith in God’s promises could affect you and the rest of your life.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away. ” Mathhew 24:25
“The word of the Lord abides forever.”10 1 Peter 1:25
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”11 Isaiah 40:8
It was faith that caused Abraham to obey God instead of his feelings – James 2:20-24
The world is filled with evidence – Romans 1:20-22 Do we listen to it or ignore it?
Paul thought he was doing God’s will in persecuting the Christians – Acts 26:9-11
1. Yet Paul’s conscience never bothered him – Acts 23:1
2. Believing a falsehood produces the same feeling of confidence as believing the truth.
3. It is not the feeling that indicates whether we have the truth.
At times we are so happy we think we will never be sad again. Other times we are so sad we think we will never be happy again…and still other times we feel almost nothing. Faith is what allows us to ignore our personal feelings and spurs us to obey God.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word will not. This means that no matter how we feel or what we experience, we can choose to depend on the Word of God as the unchanging reality of our lives.
At other times we have felt afraid or lonely or depressed. Our hearts have literally ached in anguish over circumstances of life, and in those moments we have been the most tempted to doubt the truth of God’s Word. But instead we chose with our wills to believe His Word. Thousands of times our prayers can begin, “Lord, I feel…but, Lord, Your Word says…”
Have we learned to get into the habit of taking God at His word—and now it is a habit? We can either grow accustomed to listening to our feelings, thoughts, and circumstances, letting them control us, or we can be in the habit of taking God at His word despite our feelings and life experiences. We need to choose with our wills to believe that His Word is truer than our feelings.
We can make a lifetime commitment to bank our lives on the Word of God, and God will honor that commitment. And yet, there are times when we could have easily gone back on our commitment because we couldn’t believe that anything was truer than what we were going through—times when our feelings have screamed 180 degrees in the opposite direction of God’s Word but over and over we find God to be faithful to His Word. Hallelujah!