Faith, Not Feelings

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body – Romans 4:19

One of the fundamental principals of the Christian faith is to learn how to believe in God despite contrary circumstances or feelings. God is the only source of perfect truth, so to trust Him, even when everything looks completely contrary to what He says, is the most sane and logical thing any human being can do. The problem that many people have is that they rely heavily on the way they feel to determine truth rather than relying on what God has said to determine truth. I have been, many times, guilty of this myself. But as I have grown in the Lord, I have learned that God is always faithful and He is worthy of our trust. I have also learned that my feelings are fickle. They change from time to time without warning and without reason. They are unreliable and a terrible source of truth.

In the bible there is a crazy story about a guy named Amnon and his half-sister Tamar. Amnon was crazy in love with Tamar. He thought about her all the time and was so wrapped up in her that the bible says that he was sick.

After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. Amnon was so distressed over his sister Tamar that he became sick; for she was a virgin. And it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her. – 2 Samuel 13:1-2

It is safe to say that Amnon had strong feelings for this girl. His feelings where feeding him information. He perceived this information as truth. If he felt this way about Tamar, then he must truly love her. Look what he says to his cousin, Jonadab:

I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister – 2 Samuel 13:4

Amnon had determined that if he felt so strongly about her then he must love her. And his love couldn’t wait. Even though she was his half-sister, he could have taken the proper path and asked for her hand in marriage, but no, his so-called love couldn’t wait. He wanted her now. So, his crafty cousin gave him some terrible advise.

So Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me food, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat from her hand.'” – 2 Samuel 13:5

The story goes that Amnon took his cousin’s advice and lured his half-sister Tamar into his bedroom. He overpowered her and he raped her. But then the craziest thing happens. Amnon, who was sick with love, now decides he doesn’t like this girl anymore!

Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Arise, be gone!” – 1 Samuel 13:15

It’s a really sad story with an even sadder ending. Tamar feels so much shame, and feels so unworthy over the situation that this once beautiful, care-free girl never gets married and remains alone for the rest of her life. Anmon ends up dead by the hand of his brother Absalom. All this because of a man who was foolish enough to listen to his feelings rather than to listen to God.

This is a sad story, so let it teach you a lesson so that you don’t repeat this sad story in your own life – for many do. The bible says that there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death (Proverbs 16:26 ). The bible also says that we should trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not unto our own understand (Proverbs 3:5). Our own feelings and our own understanding can lead us astray, but God’s ways are always perfect.

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless;he shields all who take refuge in him. – Psalm 18:30

We are not to operate based on how we feel. We are not to operate based on what we see. We are to walk by faith.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 6:5

A great example of this is the father of our faith, Abraham. Abraham isn’t the famous guy that he is for no reason. He set the example of faith for all of his children to follow. He was tested on several occasions, and despite some downfalls, he always went the way of faith.

Abraham left his homeland by faith. All he had was a word from God. Despite that fact that his wife was barren, he believed that the Lord would make him the father of many nations, just as He had said. By faith, he even offered up the promised child, Issac, as a sacrifice, because he believed God could raise him from the dead.

But before Issac was born, Abraham and Sarah tried to hurry up the promise of God by having Abraham marry Sarah’s servant, Hagar. Abraham and Hagar had a son together. But this wasn’t the will of God. God wanted to do the impossible. He wanted Sarah to have a son. So God waited until Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old, then He comes to Abraham and says, “I will bless you and give you a son by her.” When Abraham hears this, he falls on his face and laughs! But despite Abrahams initial disbelief, he chooses to believe the impossible.

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God – Romans 4:19-20

We need to learn to live this way. We need not to live like Amnon, who trusted in the way he felt. We need to live like Abraham, who, in the light of so much to the contrary, still believed God.

Why do we think that God is not with us if we do not feel Him? Why do believe our feelings of guilt when the word of God says we are forgiven? Why do we live self-condemned when God forgives those who have repented? Why do we feel like we might not be saved because we don’t feel the presence of God? Where did we learn to acquire truth by how we feel and not be the word of God? Is His word true? Is it true even when are feelings say contrary? Yes! It is true. This world and the form of this world will pass away, but His words will never pass away (Matt 24:35).

Be very careful with what you feel. Measure how you feel up against what God says. Feelings will come and go. God’s word is sure forever. If your feelings are strong, like Amnon’s were, it may take a little time, prayer, and focus to subject them to the word of God, but it can be done. It must be done. Put your focus on God’s word. As your mind redirects its focus, your feelings will begin to change.

Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross, but He did anyway. It was tough, but I’m glad He didn’t go by the way He felt. I’m glad He went with the Word! It paid off for us, and it paid off for Him as well:

He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Phil 2:8-11

You will also find that when you put your trust in God, despite what you feel, that God will exalt you, as well. He’ll exalt you to a place where you will be blessed, and, more importantly, be a blessing to others!

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