August 28, 2019 | By Tim Barnett, Stand to Reason
Faith—properly understood—is not a feeling. Rather, faith is active trust based on evidence. Of course, faith can affect how we feel. For example, my trust in my wife may produce feelings of happiness and gratitude, while mistrust can produce feelings of sadness and betrayal.
So faith and feelings are related, but different. Unfortunately, some people base their faith on their feelings. Consequently, the good feelings they get from praying, worshiping, or attending church lead them to conclude their faith is true. In this case, faith is held hostage by feelings.
This is extremely dangerous because feelings are fickle—they can change from day to day. The psalmist David knew this very well. In Psalm 73, he describes how he was feeling “envious of the arrogant” because of “the prosperity of the wicked” (Ps. 73:3)….
When David’s feelings are left unchecked, he begins questioning his faith….
However, David doesn’t let his feelings steer his faith. In fact, it’s just the opposite. David’s faith in God governs his feelings. He writes,
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
At the end of the day, David doesn’t know why God allows the wicked to prosper. God never tells him. But he doesn’t allow his emotions—envy in this case—to get the better of him. He trusts in the God who has guided his life and has continually shown Himself faithful.Feelings have their proper place in the Christian life. After all, God created them. But since they are far too easily influenced, and far too influential, they must not be allowed to instruct faith….
(Excerpt from Stand to Reason article by Tim Burnett.)