I am the kind of person who feels things very deeply.
And for years I have said, “faith is not a feeling. It’s a choice we have to take God at His Word.”
Because in Luke chapter 7 there is a place where Jesus said, “This is the greatest faith I have seen in all of Israel.” What is something Jesus would see as great faith? Simply being willing to take Him at His Word.
And in Matthew, he says,
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”
So that means His word is truer than how we feel, truer than any circumstance in our life and truer than any situation we will ever face.
When your feelings don’t match what God says
We need to be honest with the Lord about how we feel. And take Him at His Word that His Word is truer than how we feel.
So you might say, “Lord, I don’t feel loved” and you should tell Him why. But then say, Lord I thank you that Your Word says You have loved me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). And Your love for me is the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.
Or “Lord, I’m afraid. I feel fear. But your word says you have not given me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). So I am going to walk into that fear and face it.”
The greatest example to me of trusting God in the midst of our feelings is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. When He was there, He wasn’t saying, “The Son of God shouldn’t feel this way” or “if I were trusting God I wouldn’t feel this way.”
No, He was feeling everything there was to feel. The Scripture says He was deeply grieved. He was distressed. He was in agony. He was troubled. He was feeling everything there was to feel.
But He was trusting the Father in the midst of His feelings.
Since Jesus said, “In this world you are going to have trouble,” (John 16:33), So how do we bring God into our challenges and negative experiences?
These are 3 ways that have been personally helpful to me.
- Giving thanks and praising Him
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:18-20).If you look at Ephesians 5:18-20, it’s all about the Holy Spirit and the evidences of the Spirit in our lives. Look at that last phrase: “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:20).
One day I visited a campus and there was a staff member who had become very judgmental and critical of others. She shared how she felt about the people, and she was actually right about most of it.
I said, “You have a gift of discernment. But with your discernment, you have become critical.
“So what we want you to do is go out in the park or in the library and write down every single thing you don’t like about everybody and every situation.
“Make a long list and thank God for everything you don’t like.
“Then we want you to go back through that list and pray for each person or each situation.” So she said she would do that.
I didn’t hear another word until I was at a conference later and the director came running across the hotel lobby. And he said, “What did you tell her? She has totally changed.”
I explained that that we told her to use that discernment she had to pray instead of being critical and to thank God then for those things.
We bring God into the negative by thanking and praising Him. And it is a habit.
I don’t want to become a bitter, old woman. So I know I need to praise God and thank Him now.
- Blessing and not cursing
“But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (James 3:8-10).The word “curse” means “to speak evil of,” or to not speak well of, and the word bless means to speak well of.
There was a person in my life that I was bad-mouthing in my heart. I didn’t have a nice thing to say about them, because they had wronged me and they had hurt me. I even thought, if they’re going to be in heaven, I don’t know if I even want to go there.
I didn’t like the fact that I had been cursing someone in God’s image. If we have been hurt by someone, it is hard to shift the gear and start blessing. So I didn’t feel like it, but I did it.
And over time, I began saying, “Lord, how can I be a blessing to this person?”
And then He gave me the idea of buying them a gift. And one day, I saw something I knew the person would like – not only like, but love – because they didn’t know it existed. And I bought it and gave it to them and that relationship restored. As it turned out, that was the first step to restoration in the relationship. I’m grateful God led me to take the first step.
We reap what we sow.
If we sow blessing we will reap blessing. If we sow cursing, we will reap cursing. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Colossians 3:12-13).Here’s the phrase that I want you to see, “Whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Colossians 3:13).
I like it that the Lord acknowledges that we have complaints, but He says just as He forgave us, so we need to forgive.
My greatest story of forgiveness was learning to forgive my father after years of hurts.
Where are you struggling with today?
- Is there a negative in your life? Thank God and Praise Him.
- Are you cursing someone? Begin to bless them instead.
- Is there a deep hurt in your life? Who do you need to forgive?
To hear Ney expand this concept on the radio, visit Revive Our Hearts.