Friday, September 30, 2016

Faith is More Than Emotion

Chuckle: TEACHER: Why are you late, Frank? FRANK: Because of the sign.. TEACHER: What sign? FRANK: The one that says, "School Ahead, Go Slow."
Great Quote: "Live as if Christ died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back again tomorrow." -- Martin Luther

"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that -- and shudder" (James 2:19 NIV).
The dictionary defines "emotion" as "a strong feeling . . . any particular feeling, such as love, hate, joy, or fear." Sorrow is also an emotion that comes to mind. But genuine faith is much more than an emotion. The demons believe and shudder -- they are filled with awe and terror at the same time. Even the demons respond emotionally to Jesus Christ. They may be touched and moved - but never to the point of trusting, following, or obeying Him.
When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, an emotional response of sorrow often besets us and may cause us to shed tears of remorse. However, it's one thing to cry and another to be born again. The shedding of tears alone won't do it. It's one thing to be moved, and another to be radically changed -- one thing to get all worked up emotionally, and another to get your eternal destiny all worked out. Emotions are definitely involved but are not enough. Our emotions are moved when called by the Holy Spirit, but many never lead to surrender.
Criminals who are caught, convicted, and incarcerated, often show remorse and apologize to the courts and to their victims for their conduct. But after they are released, many of these same criminals go right back to their old life of sin because their remorse never resulted in a change in their basic values. Similarly, it's one thing to be sorry for our sins, but such emotion is only valuable if it leads us to repentance and a life-changing commitment to Jesus Christ.
For us who profess to be Christians, the demonstration of our faith must go beyond the feeling sorry for someone and the emotional expression of love and compassion. Actions should follow as a result of those feelings. We may say to someone in need, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but do nothing about it (to meet the need), what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:16-17 NIV). Our faith should cause us to be moved emotionally, but the emotion should be followed by actions.
Finally, faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) and we get it not by a strong feeling (emotion) of some kind, but “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). We should never trust our feelings, but, instead, we should trust God and take Him at His word in all circumstances.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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