WHEN ‘FAITH’ ISN’T WORKING FOR YOU (Apostasy 2019 – 3)
In the last two blogs we talked about some of the issues Josh Harris and Marty Sampson brought up when they recently criticized and denied the faith they once held. I shared my opinion that today many people, including Christians, base their beliefs and actions on their feelings. If it feels good, do it. If it doesn’t make you feel better, don’t do it. But as Christians we must base all we believe and do on God’s Word, not our feelings. Doubts are normal, and God’s Word gives us enough information to deal with them. As Christians we need to know God’s Word and teach it to others.
Many people who are not Christians go by their feelings. They “follow your heart.” What does the Bible say about that? Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”
Emotions have their place, but basing beliefs and decisions on them is not why God created them. Eve felt right about giving the fruit to Adam, but she was wrong. Abraham felt afraid so he lied to Pharaoh, but he was wrong. Sarah felt desperate when she told Abraham to have a son with Sarah, but she was wrong. Moses felt indignant so he killed an Egyptian, but he was wrong. James 1:22-27 and Proverbs 14:12 tell us we can deceive ourselves.
Think of a train. “Fact” should be the engine pulling behind it “faith” and “feelings.” Too many today make “feelings” the engine and base their faith on that no matter what the facts say.
What do you think when someone says that Christianity just isn’t working for them? First of all, think about that statement. What is the purpose of Christianity? Is it to make us feel good? Our entitlement mentality says everything gets evaluated by the standard of “What do I get out of it?” Our culture teaches its children that it’s all about them: what they want and what makes them feel good. If it doesn’t feel good, forget it. That’s how many evaluate jobs, friends and even their marriages.
The truth of the matter is it isn’t all about me – it’s all about Jesus. Worship, too, must be all about Jesus, not about how it makes me feel or what I get out of it. When Abraham offered Isaac on the altar, thinking he would kill him, and he called that “worship” (Genesis 22:5). That wasn’t based on how he felt emotionally. When Job stood at the fresh graves of his dead children he worshipped (Job 1:20). That wasn’t based on how he felt, either. (The next blog will be about how we can keep our faith strong when doubts hit.)
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death
I asked you to be alert to the role feelings play in your faith. What have you learned about yourself during the past week? What must you do to focus on the truth of God’s Word and not be misled by your feelings?