Faith without feeling

There are things I wish I could ignore but my spirit is too troubled to not say this aloud…

Faith is not a feeling.

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A friend of mine shared a very personal post today explaining his reasons for embracing his religion. I will not judge another’s faith but I share this so you can examine your foundation.

I’ve even had the same, very real contemplations before – "do I really believe in this? Maybe I really don’t believe in this – there many things that don’t make sense!" Having said that, every time I start going into that mode, I feel empty inside. There’s something – something dark that takes over. In fact, it’s not really anything taking over – it’s that the light and happiness and peacefulness that was inside me leaves, leaving the darkness that is left behind. I really don’t know what that is… but it never feels good when I lose that light. I feel sad, and confused.

So here’s why I believe: I believe because of the light this Gospel brings into my life. I believe because of the joy it gives me. I just haven’t felt this anywhere else.

May I share a secret? I don’t always “feel saved”.

There are days I’m trudging through sin and rebellion that I’m equal parts bitter and angry. There are days I wonder why I can’t get “being a Christian” right.

But here is the amazing part -  No matter where I am or what I feel it doesn’t change the truth.

God is, because God is.

It is the surety of salvation through Grace. I can’t earn it and I can’t lose it. My faith and position in Christ is built upon who He is not who I am, and thank God above for that.

God’s justice and mercy are not validated by my feelings but by his unchanging nature and centuries of revelation Him. Look at the words of Isaiah 44:8

“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

I dare say these Babylonian captives had days they didn’t feel the light and peace of God. In fact they were usually fearful rebellious heathens (It takes one to know one) but God didn’t change, or love them less, or alter His plan of redemption, or become less eternal, or become less just… get the idea? No matter where we are or what we feel God is.

Why do I believe?

Why do you have faith the chair you are sitting in will support your weight?

  1. It’s a chair. It’s entire purpose is to do exactly that.
  2. You’ve set in it hundreds of times and it has proven itself.

I chose to sit down once “in God” and He has proven himself faithful and true over and over. I believe because He is and He does.

I cannot speak for you but personally my feelings are selfish and my heart is deceitful so I dare not place any foundation of faith on my feelings but rather on the truth of God. The danger of such a feeling foundation of faith is if the feelings waiver then our faith will as well.

Does faith it God bring peace and joy? Yes but it can also bring brokenness and emptiness -  How do you think Peter felt? Mark 14:71-72

7 responses to “Faith without feeling”

  1. Patrick says:

    I don’t think that God makes too hard terms with those who seek Him. 

    If one seeker’s path to the Holy is by feelings first, I know that God will accept him.

    • Keith says:

      My fear is not that feelings will lead to seeking God but that they shouldn’t be a foundation of belief in Him. If the feelings change (and they will waiver) then we don’t need to grant Satan an opportunity to cast doubt on the nature of God or our position in Christ. Salvation is sure because God said if you believe, repent, and confess he is faithful to forgive so my faith is built upon Him. Anything less is sandy ground.

      • Patrick says:

        Well, I suppose that is a reasonable fear.

        My default position is that God will do what He will, in His time, in His way – that He reveals Himself us to us in a manner of His own choosing. 

        I don’t like to insist that others accept my personal path as the only correct path into the House of God. I tend to believe that if we are willing to believe in Him, that He will find a way to pull us along.

        Additionally, doubt is an essential part of my personal faith – it’s what keeps me seeking a closer relationship with Him. Doubt fuels my curiosity and curiosity keeps me interested in finding a personal deeper truth. I think the day that I believe I have it all figured out is the day that my faith becomes something less than actual Faith.

        I think that God calls us to accept Him as creator and be of service to others. That’s pretty much it, as embodied in the “Love God and Love your Neighbors” commandments of Jesus in Matthew 22. Anything beyond that is open to our individual interpretation, and insisting that others accept my interpretation limits the ways that we connect with God.

        If I genuinely love my neighbor as I love myself, I have to accept that he will find his path just as I have found my own for the simple and logical reason that I want him to accept my path as a valid one.

        I know that for me, when I am told by someone “you must believe what I believe or you are in error” that a wall is erected between he and I (just as surely as I know that is a sin of Pride) that makes it more difficult for me to accept what is being offered. But when someone says “this is what I believe and this is *my* path” then I am invited to explore the idea without a wall between us. I also know that because that’s the way I react that it isn’t the way everyone reacts so I can’t insist that my way is the only correct way. God gave us individuality and a path to Him is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

        In John 14, Jesus says “My Father’s house has many mansions”. I believe there are many doors into that mansion.

        • Keith says:

          In short I believe God’s invitation is universal but the conditions are very specific. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man comes to the father but through Him. Since God cannot abide sin it is only through accepting his Son’s substitutionary sacrifice that I am declared righteous in the eyes of God.

          Many recognize God as God (even the devil himself) but salvation requires admission of my sin, belief in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and confession that He is Lord of all and my life.

  2. Faith is one of the least mystical, least vague, least wavering parts of my spirituality. It is incredibly tangible and real, and I am reminded of it every day. It is the bottle of pills I got when I had severe postpartum depression, and I had the option of either getting myself help or doing something really bad. It’s the casserole that a friend brings over because she knows you’re broke and busy and feeling like you’ll never get dinner on the table again. It’s the note your child brings home from his teacher, because she just wanted to let you know he’s such a sweet young man.

    You’re right, it’s not a feeling. Rather, it’s the little things we see, touch, smell, taste every day that keep us plugging along, even when we think things are going to hell in a handbasket around us.

    • Keith says:

      Or how you aren’t sure you’ll make ends meet this summer on one income and the mortgage refi happens at just the right time with just the right amount…I do pretty well with faith, my struggle is with holiness and discipleship

      Thanks Amy

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