Let Faith Dictate Your Feelings
- March 06, 2018
- Taber Cheo
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:4,5
When thoughts, feelings, and emotions speak differently than the word of God, we ought to have more faith in His word than we did at first. Sometimes one’s own thought can arouse ungodly emotions like fear, doubt, rage, anxiety, hopelessness, sexual immorality, etc. But when these feelings are strong, should the word of Christ be less true? On the contrary, God’s word remain’s forever (Isaiah 40:8). Therefore, our faith is a deliberate choice into the finished work of Christ. This choice of faith will hold any thought captive to obey Christ.
“Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In order to let faith dictate feelings, we must distinguish the two from each other. For instance, if we have to feel better in order to have faith, we let sensuality be our guide over the word of God. If so, there can be no peace unless our physical, mental or emotional senses say so; even if all three agree, it wouldn’t be for long. But if we acknowledge that faith is a choice, we allow our feelings to be transformed into the word of God. Therefore, our peace is founded on the One who is peace Himself, Jesus (Ephesians 2:14).
This is not to say that feelings are unimportant. While we bare the image of God Himself, He is also the author of both feelings and emotions. Yet if they stand in opposition to the knowledge of God, they most certainly are not of Him and should not be submitted to. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). This is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The word agony can also be translated as “a great fear”. Jesus felt fearful to the point of sweating blood; sorrowful to the point of death (Matthew 26:38). But how did He respond in this overwhelming state of emotion? He certainly did not remain in His fear and sorrow. He continued more earnestly in the prayer He started; “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
How Jesus responded in the garden is the perfect example of letting faith dictate our feelings and emotions. While He was honest with the Father (“remove this cup from me”), He chose to come in agreement with His will rather than letting fear overtake Him (“not my will, but yours, be done”). He knew the Father’s will because He knew what was written (He foretells His death in multiple accounts [Matthew 16, Mark 8]). Therefore, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). It was the joy of laying down His life for His friends, thereby fulfilling the Fathers will, that allowed Him to overcome fear and endure the cross.
In the same way Jesus endured the cross, so can we endure through any thought or feeling that rises itself against the knowledge of God. We may hold it captive to what Christ has already established.
Although thoughts may say: “I’m alone,”
Christ says: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Thoughts can say: “I feel ashamed,”
Christ says: “As far as the east is from the west, I have removed your sin. The blood of Jesus has cleansed you from ALL sin” (Psalm 103:12, 1John1:7).
Thoughts: “I am afraid I’ll mess up again”
Christ: “I am your righteousness. If in the case you do sin, I am your advocate and I will defend you” (1John 2:1)
Thoughts: “I am so weak”
Christ: “when you are weak I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10)
Thoughts: “I can never do it right.”
Christ: “You no longer live, but I live through you. Sow into the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:16)
Thoughts: “It’s so hard”
Christ: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30)
While we must be honest, vulnerable, and transparent with God, by no means shall we wallow in our fears, doubts, sorrows, worry, or anything else that comes against His word. Rather, we shall bring them before Him in hope and in faith, for they will be transformed as we grow to the full stature and maturity of Christ.
“Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable, and perfect” (Romans 12:2).