“We live by feelings, not by faith.”
“We live by feelings, not by faith.” That quote is a distortion of how we are exhorted to live in 2 Cor. 5:7, but for all of us sometimes, and for some of us all too often, this depicts how we navigate life. Scripture nudges us to live the adventurous and sometimes downright scary life, the life of faith, where “we live by believing and not by seeing.” (New Living Translation) How much more challenging can it be to respond affirmatively to the course set for us in Hebrews 11:1-2? “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain ofwhat we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” What heavenly minded person wrote that? What did they know about “real” life?
Theologian Sinclair Ferguson said “We think with our feelings.” It’s true! We allow our feelings to guide our thinking and we shouldn’t. Yes, it is a battle. A daily battle. While it’s true our emotions are a wonderful gift from God, our emotions should not be vested with the final authority. Do we not recognize that our emotions tend to be unstable, unreliable, often driven by pride and sometimes influenced by lies that “feel” like the truth? It’s more than a little unsettling to dialogue with people who insist (and live as though) what they feel is ultimately more authoritative to them than what’s clearly written in scripture. God is not sympathetic to this perspective.
Faith, synonymous with trust, is not something unfamiliar to us. Just think about from the moment you awaken each day in how many instances you exercise trust . . . or faith. It starts with even trusting you will wake up tomorrow. We’ve got to move towards a maturity that creates in us a default position of trust in God and in His word. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us that “what we have in the Bible is Truth; it is not an emotional stimulus . . . and it is as we apprehend and submit ourselves to the truth that our feelings/emotions will follow.” These feelings/emotions will be reliable ones because they are anchored in the truth. That’s what God wants us to be striving toward. He knows it’s not our “natural” response. But this “supernatural” response will become our default position, our more routine 1st response as we begin to practice growing our belief/faith/trust in God and what He says in His word. The starting place is choosing to believe the truth (God’s word) regardless of how we feel.
Now, will this “feel” a little weird and “un-natural” at first? Of course. It is 100% “un-natural”. For most of us, we’ll often be off balance as we lean into a faith-based life. Our life of transformation which the Holy Spirit walks us through is a life of process and, at times, we’ll experience something similar to “two steps forward, one step back.” I believe as long as we are motivated to move with God that’s ok. Jesus did this stuff perfectly. His expectations of us are realistic and He is patient towards us. At times when we express to others our commitment to live by faith/trust they will think we are a bit crazy. At times we’ll have that same opinion of ourselves, but those thoughts and doubts do not have their origin with God. He is honored by our faith/trust convictions and will do all we allow Him to to reward these steps we undertake. The adventures “down the rabbit hole” from Alice in Wonderland pale in the wonder of a life of trusting God. Think About It.