Strength to Strength or Emotion to Emotion?

November 1, 2019 at 4:08 PM Leave a comment

The Bible makes it clear that Christians who mature in the Lord go from “strength to strength.” I believe this is referring to our strength of faith through which we depend upon the Lord for His provision in all areas. As we trust the Lord in the smaller things, the Lord provides more opportunities to exercise our trust in Him for the larger things. I’ve dealt with this in previous posts when I wrote articles about how to determine the Lord’s will for your life.

5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. (Psalm 84:5-7 KJV)

Paul refers to this as well when he speaks of the fact that in his own weakness, he is strong in the Lord.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

Why does Paul say this? Because when he was weak, he was forced to rely on the Lord. The temptation of course is to rely on ourselves and unfortunately, relying on our emotions is often the same exact thing – relying on ourselves, not God.

In determining the Lord’s will in each circumstance we face, the Lord will often use natural means to reveal His will. God has chosen not to provide us with insight into His will by sending angelic messengers to our door or in our dreams as we sleep. While He did this at one point in time, long before His written Word was completed, He no longer uses that method and it’s easy to see why.

Instead, He has chosen to use methods that stretch us by way of our faith. We have to puzzle things out through our dependence upon Him. We have to devote time to prayer in attempting to determine His leading.

For instance, I previously talked about how we determined that the Lord might have been leading us to buy another, newer vehicle to replace the old one. Instead of determining how I “felt” about what it seemed as though God was doing after prayer, it seemed to me that the process of determining what we were to do seemed rather natural, rather than supernatural. We had prayed about our car, one that had given us 337,000 miles and included a replacement engine, a completely rebuilt transmission and many other repairs we had made along the way.

We had arrived to another crossroads. The rebuilt transmission was starting to go again. Did we wait until it “went” and had it repaired or was that one of the things that caused us to consider buying another vehicle? Then the idea of adding up all the repairs over the past few years seemed a good thing to do and afterwards, we found that over the past 34 months, we had spent nearly $8200 in repairs, averaging out to roughly $240 per month. Essentially, we already had a car payment. To buy another vehicle would simply mean a somewhat higher monthly payment but we’d pay extra on it each month to pay it off sooner and hopefully, aside from regular maintenance, we’d not have to deal with expensive repairs along the way. In the end, we traded the old vehicle in for a newer model and so far, we believe we made the correct decision.

What about our roof situation that I’ve also referred to earlier? We had the roof inspected based on the recommendation of a contractor and learned that in spite of what the contractor told us, the insurance determined there was no weather-related damage. We asked for and got a second inspection. During this second inspection, I plied the inspector with a ton of questions and he was extremely patient in answering every one of them. In fact, the entire process was very educational for me. He even showed me photos of what a roof that had been pelted with hailstones looked like when all was said and done. I learned that while parts of the roof system (the gutters, the aluminum chimney pipe and cover, etc.) did have evidence of hail damage, the inspector explained why that particular hail would have done zero damage to our roof shingles. In essence, the hail that damaged the thin aluminum parts (which are only ¼” thick) would not have needed to be very big at all. In order to damage the asphalt shingles, however, the hail would have had to have been the size of a quarter, or just smaller than a golf ball! I was not aware of that.

The inspector was also good enough to tell me (after I asked) what I could do to ensure the life of my roof. Since he personally had roofing contractor experience in his background he was able to put that hat on and offer explanations that made sense. Needless to say, both my wife and I are very comfortable knowing that our roof has not been damaged by weather and with just a few things done to it by a qualified contractor, the roof should last quite some time, barring any real weather-related damage from an upcoming severe storm.

In the first instance (the purchase of another vehicle), God worked by helping us understand what we had been spending and the fear of constantly thinking that vehicle was going to break down again. It seemed a no-brainer after we’d seriously looked at the situation. These are things we had to investigate and I believe through the process, God’s will became very clear. We do not believe we are wasting money on a newer vehicle, but in fact, may have wasted money on the previous one.

Regarding the roof, there wasn’t much we could do except ask for a second inspection. Once that was done and decided, it also seemed clear that God’s will was done. No new roof was needed, which was a blessing in numerous ways. Our deductible is $1,000 so had we gotten a new roof paid for by the insurance, we’d have had to pay the $1,000 deductible along with any depreciation of the roof as noted by the insurance company. We have the money, but it would be nice not to have to spend it on that especially with the holidays coming up.

But one huge thing I’d like to point out is that in neither of these cases, did God show us His will through our feelings. The apostle Paul notes that God brings us through a process where we grow stronger in faith. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.‘ (Romans 1:17 Berean)

While our feelings may certainly react with joy to the reality of God’s will, we are never to increase our dependence on feeling because God does not lead us that way. Unfortunately, to hear many Christians tell it, God leads them by the way they feel (“I felt God…” was saying, leading, or directing).

Feelings are so incredibly unstable that we should never look to them in order to determine truth or God’s will. Our feelings cannot adequately inform us because they are always changing and are subjective.

You may feel great one moment, then eat something that doesn’t settle with you and all of a sudden, you’re feeling yucky. Is God speaking to you or is it just your food? This happens to me because of my food allergies/sensitivities. If I used those feelings to determine God’s will while praying about something, I would literally end up being “tossed to and fro” not only by every wind of doctrine, but by every feeling that I feel.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, it is clear from Scripture He experienced gut-wrenching emotions. His feelings were raging and any of us would have given into them to avoid what was coming. In spite of how badly His feelings were raging inside Him, He managed to keep them in check so that they did not overwhelm Him and cause Him to make wrong decisions, which would have been sin.

Jesus kept His eye on the prize and never wavered in spite of how badly His feelings were pulling at Him. Of course, one thing He had going for Him that we do not is that He did not have a sin nature as we do. God the Holy Spirit bypassed that completely during His conception. But that actually made His situation worse because He took temptation to the nth degree. We don’t as we tend to give into temptation long before it gets to that point.

Too often, Christians are tempted to use emotions to make decisions, when in point of fact, God wants us to use our heads coupled with faith. We must not fall prey to the problems of using emotion to determine either truth or God’s will.

Determining God’s will is not done through the use of our emotions. Determining God’s will is done through prayer and a faith that believes God will direct, often using circumstances and common sense to do it. After all, doesn’t God want us to walk in His will? Of course He does and He’s certainly not hiding His will from us, is He? Yet, we often say “I need to find the Lord’s will.”

In determining God’s will in the smaller, lesser things, we learn to expand our trust in God and actually start moving from strength to strength as we continue to determine His will and faithfully follow Him in all things.

We’ll never do this perfectly in this life, but we should certainly endeavor to do just that. Let’s all keep up with the Lord and His will!

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , .

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