1 John 5:13 “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
The Christian life is lived by what we know as opposed to what we feel. Every human being experiences a wide variety of emotions from time to time. Even those who seem to have leather tough skin have moments when feelings hit the mark. These inner stirrings have a way of coloring our perception of truth, and clouding our mind. So when our thoughts and actions are being disturbed by our circumstances, it is imperative that we focus on what we know and not on what we feel.
Love stories in books or movies regularly play on this principle. The guy misunderstands the girl’s actions, becomes jealous, and leaves the scene hurt and forlorn. The girl, confused about his quick exit becomes frustrated and sad. The relationship seems to be on the brink of shipwreck, but, of course, in the movies there is always some last minute reunion where things work out. Unfortunately, in real life the story doesn’t always turn out so well.
There is no place where this human trait of following our feelings is more detrimental than in the Christian life. We do not see God with our physical eyes; we see Him by faith. Upon receiving the Lord Jesus as our Savior we receive a restored relationship with Him. We put our trust in His grace to save us and begin the journey of trusting Him with every other part of our lives.
This is somewhat simple to do when things are going fine, but when life takes a turn for the worse things can change. A waterfall of emotion pours into our hearts and threatens to extinguish our strength, and drown our faith. At this point we need to choose – do we follow how we feel or do we rely on what we know?
When struggling with feelings of unworthiness we can feel doubts about our salvation. Or we can choose to focus on the truth that those who believe in the name of the Son of God can know they have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
When praying for an extended period of time about a difficult circumstance with no answers, we can choose to feel that God has not heard us. Or we can choose to rely on the truth that if we ask anything according to His will, He does hear us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked from Him (1 John 5:14-15).
When we feel that God’s promises do not pertain to us, we can choose to give in to our feelings. Or we can choose to rely on the truth that God is not a man that He should lie, but will do what He has said and make good what He has spoken (Numbers 23:9).
When we feel like all our efforts for Him are in vain, we can choose to feel defeated. Or we can choose to remember that we did not choose Him, but He chose us and appointed us to bear remaining fruit so that whatever we ask the Father in Jesus’ name we will receive (John 15:16).
Feelings come and feelings go like a tree’s changing leaves in the seasons of life. But our God never changes! He remains forever constant. And He calls us to live by what we know, not what we feel!