Monday, November 19, 2012

Faith vs. Feelings


Feelings.

We all have them. And as ladies, we experience a lot of them. Often. [Can I get a witness?] There’s that oh-so-sweet commercial that brings a tear to your eye, or that terrible thing so-and-so said that made you angry. We have the ability to experience a whole array of emotions in a day. We can be happy and content just seconds before receiving unexpected news and now we’re devastated and overwhelmed. Given the right scenario, the switch can be flipped on our feelings at any given time.

Experiencing emotions is a good, and normal thing. I believe they are even a gift from God. Feelings are like a signal that tell us what's happening in the heart, and it’s healthy to acknowledge them. But what about when our emotions begin to affect [or trump] our faith? 

What if 2 Corinthians 5:7 read, “For we live by [feelings & sight] not by [faith]”?

Boy, would we be in trouble! Yet, if I’m honest, the question below can be deeply convicting, depending on the season I’m in.

Which one describes you today?

MY FAITH > MY FEELINGS
or
MY FEELINGS > MY FAITH

If you're like me, walking by faith isn't always easy. So, here are three hints for keeping your feelings from trumping your faith: 

1. Use the Psalms as a helpful guide.
I love the example we see from David in the Psalms about how he handles his emotions. He brings them before the Throne of Grace in total honesty. In some Psalms he confesses frustration over his enemies, in others he confesses feelings that God has forgotten him or abandoned him—essentially laying his questions at God’s feet—and in others he tells the Lord of his physical pains, and his exhaustion. Yet in all, he comes back to the truth. He tells the Lord of His faithfulness, thus reminding himself of God’s character. He prevails through faith, not on what is felt or seen, but on what is true.

2. Renew your mind with God's Word. 
Negative emotions will arise. It's natural and, at times, legitimate! But God's plan is not for his children to be defeated by their feelings. Take for example the Pastor's wife who is feeling too fearful to step into her calling, or the one who is beginning to feel hopelessness based on circumstances, or the one who is anxious about her family's provisions. In his book Discipleship Counseling, Dr. Neil T. Anderson explains that our emotions are essentially a product of our thoughts. If we choose to renew our mind with God’s unfailing truth, our emotions will eventually follow [see Philippians 4:8-9]. Let's take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. “If what a person believes or thinks does not conform to the truth then what the person feels will not conform to reality” (p 88). (Emphasis added).  

3. Examine the object of your faith. 
Faith is the key to victory. Truly, everyone lives by faith. The difference between believers and non believers is the object of faith. Ours is Jesus. But we can still sometimes get off track. For instance when feelings of worry or anxiety come, we must ask ourselves…

“What or who is the object of my faith right now?”

If that answer is not the One, True God [see His attributes here, and His names here] then we will need to realign our faith. I’d like to leave you with this diagram I recreated from Beth Moore’s Believing God study. It’s based on the Israelites journey to the promise land. From this visual aid, we see that prevailing faith in God and His promises will break the spiritual cycle of defeat and lead us into victory!



As New Testament believers, our Promise Land is the inheritance of all the Spiritual Blessings God promises to His children, according to His Word. This includes peace that passes understanding [see Philippians 4:6-7]. So, sisters, as life brings the testing of ups and downs, may we step out on faith with prevailing belief in our Awesome God, aligning our thoughts with His Word, and allowing our feelings to conform to His truth all along the way.

Will you choose to believe God with me today?

Lovingly,

Monique Zackery

_____________________________
Monique is a Northern California Pastor's wife. When she isn't glueing her fingers together in a D.I.Y. project, you can find her worshiping God through music and everyday life.  Above all, she desires to be an arrow, pointing others to Jesus. To learn more about Monique, you can visit her family ministry blog at www.TheZackerys.blogspot.com


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