You don’t always feel your faith, do you? The strength that God has given you – there’s not a constant sense of it being there each moment of every day. The peace that Jesus promised us, and has given- why do you not always experience that inner tranquility? What about confidence? None of us have experienced even a full week where there wasn’t a tremble or two…or three. I personally love it when the substance of my trust in God is coupled with a surging sensation of its work in me. But how am I to live out my day when the feelings which accompany my faith seem totally absent? What do I do with the substance of my faith when the surge of my faith is in hibernation?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” – Ephesians 1:3
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1
The answer is not impressive nor mystical. When I do not sense the surge I still trek out in truth. Part of the process of spiritual growth occurs as we learn that our mind can be more reliable than our heart. If we understand our minds to be the arena of our decisiveness, and our hearts to be the arena of our feelings, then we must accept that our hearts are not always as helpful to us in living out our faith as our minds are. Why is this? Because your emotions change more regularly than your mind. Your emotions don’t always obey. Your emotions are much less steady than your decisiveness. Emotions are beautiful adornments in life, but they make lousy foundations. If your life is a train running along the tracks of God’s will, then you should always seek to view your mind as the engine and your emotions as the freight cars… or even the caboose. Can a caboose pull all those carriage cars to the final destination? No, but the engine certainly can. Don’t get me wrong, I love the associated surges which may accompany the life of faith in Jesus Christ. Lately, these things have been at fever pitch in my life, as God has seen fit to unleash great sensations of love, joy, peace, confidence and hope. I am not one to run away from the surge.
But I’m not going to run after it either.
The words in Ephesians 1:3 above teach your mind that you already have every spiritual blessing which you need. You have all the love you need. You have all the power you need. You have been given access to all wisdom that you will ever need via your union with Jesus Christ. That mercy that is being required of you – you have it right now. When you ask God to give you patience, the truth is that He already has. The same thing is true with courage, compassion and commitment – your Heavenly Father has already deposited those things within you. We already have all that is required of us because we have Christ. The challenge of the Christian life is, firstly, believing that you presently have what you need and, secondly, merging your mind and heart to walk in the daily sense of presently possessing those things. We must believe it in substance if we are ever to experience in surge. When you protest and declare that it cannot be true because you don’t sense it to be true… then the caboose has migrated to the front of the train and you need this post more than you know.
For those who woke up feeling nothing today I would say that your highest call is to spend personal time in prayer with God. I know you don’t feel like it, that’s why I’m encouraging it. You aren’t motivated in that direction – I understand – that’s why you need to do it. While it is normal for us to miss the surge, the feeling, of our faith from time to time . . . it is abnormal to continue in that rut for extended periods. Your God is real, He is active, and HE FEELS. It is reasonable to believe that, as you draw near to Him, you will eventually gain a sense of all the goodness that is His. Chase Him, if you will. Don’t chase the feeling. Wait on God, and humble yourself in spiritual hunger as you tell Him that you know He is real even in the absence of any sensation of His nearness. Proclaim that He is good and gracious and powerful and faithful. Let your own ears hear your own voice declare that you will no longer allow the caboose of emotion to drive the train of your life. Welcome the Conductor to sit up front in the engine of your mind as you ride the rails of His will to your appointed destination. He will take your substance of your faith, and make it to merge with the surge, and then there will be a sense within you that you actually possess what He says you possess.
The substance of faith never diminishes. The surge will ebb and flow. Focus on the substance and the Lord will guarantee that you will experience the blessed surge when it is most beneficial to you.
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