Features, Inspirational

Faith Over Feelings Ephesians 4:11-16

J.C. Riley
Inspiration By New Creation Ministry — By J.C. Riley

Recently, I was lamenting to God that I no longer felt like studying His word and resisting the temptations that have hindered me from doing His will. Early in my Christian experience emotions and feelings dominated! I was excited about learning of God and sharing with others. I couldn’t be silenced, and I wouldn’t keep still. While I prayed, a comforting image flashed into my mind. I saw a father teaching his son to ride a bike. At first, the father gently guided his son by placing his hand on the center of his back and pushing him forward. Then, the father removed his hand and allowed his son the opportunity to trust in what he had been taught. Although the son no longer ‘felt’ his father’s hand on his back, he was assured of his nearby presence by the sound of his voice.

A Sign of Maturity

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian believers his desire was that they “…all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…” Ephesians 4:13,14. When developing children, there is a need to employ immediate responses to teach valuable lessons. Rewards and punishments are issued to help guide the child along a healthy path. However, a teenager should have a different motivation than a three-year-old who is less mature in their understanding. As children of the Most High, it’s imperative that we understand that our growth in grace involves learning how to exercise faith simply because we are convinced it is the best path to follow. The enemy does not want this. He wants us to be controlled by the fickle feelings that rise and fall with changing circumstances and seasons. But God does not change. Malachi 3:6. Therefore as we grow in our knowledge of His true nature, we too will become unmovable like Joseph as a slave in Egypt and Daniel when sentenced to death by the lions. Genesis 39:9; Daniel 6.

We Need a Why

In order for us to mature into spiritual adults who choose the path of righteousness when we do not feel like it we need a strong why! The Holy Spirit is faithful to “…guide you into all truth…” (John 13:16) so we are guaranteed Divine leading. However, we are being trained on how to trust His leading when all around us (and within us) says otherwise. Hebrews 12:2 tells us of Jesus’s why: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The expectation of being reconciled to the human race and clearing God’s name of the false claims made by Satan drove Jesus. In the wilderness while hungry and thirsty His commitment remained firm: “Man will not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.” Matthew 4:4. As children, the desire for reward and the fear of punishment may be enough but as mature adults we need a reason that harmonizes with our capacity to understand in order to remain devoted. Eventually our response will simply be: “We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.

We Need a Word

As Jesus demonstrated faith in the Words of scripture when tempted by the enemy (Matthew 4:1-11) and as the words the Lord uphold the foundation of the universe (Hebrews 1:3) so are we to be grounded by the same. Which means we need to cherish God’s words to us in a personal way. It’s good to quote John 3:16 with “…loved the world…” but it is life changing when we see ourselves in that verse; when we realize that it was for me that He gave up His life! It was my sin, my sickness, I was the wandering sheep! When God’s word becomes personal it is able to form us into His likeness. It’s important to be protective over God’s word to us like a parent protecting their little child from the threats of the world. He has given us a word; the God of creation has spoken and still speaks! But we need a word that is personal! We need the word to become flesh before our eyes. We attain this by spending time and rehearsing experiences with God. When His word becomes clear to us and we believe it, we will stand on faith and not feelings.

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