In any friendship there is an element of emotional attachment. Maybe you share the love of music with your friends, or perhaps it’s your passion for the game of golf. Our friends are our friends mainly because of the way we feel when we’re with them.
My music friends bring joy to my life and I must admit, playing before an audience, can have its rewards as well. Sometimes it’s hard to explain why friendships develop. There may not be any chemistry between people, but they’re friends. It’s just the way it is. Don’t ask me to describe friendships, because there are some folks I regard as friends even though they can be irritating. There’s feeling.
Relationship with God not based on feelings
When it comes to our friendship or relationship with God, feelings have little to do with it, at least from God’s perspective. Our heavenly Father loves us unconditionally, despite all the times we turn away from Him and even when we don’t want to be friends at all. It’s just a fact.
I once had a chaplain colleague who would tell people, “God loves you, I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” That always invoked a laugh and when delivered properly, even the most negative person could break into a smile.
Called to love others as God loves us
We are called to love others as God has loved us. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” That line from the Lord’s Prayer, as taught by Yeshua Himself, highlights God’s absolute love for man.
Feelings can get in the way. They can block us from seeing what is, as we focus on how we feel about it. Truth is more important then how we feel about God.
People get angry at God
Christians struggle with feelings, especially as they relate to their walk with God. The reality of their true relationship to God gets smothered in negative feelings.
They get mad at God for bad things that happen. They blame God when their life does not go as planed. They question their standing with God because they can’t feel it. They talk of losing their salvation because they don’t feel saved. But feelings have nothing to do with it.
God’s love and salvation for us is a gift from Him
The Apostle Paul wrote that our salvation is “a gift of God” (Romans 6:23) and that we are saved by the Grace of God, not by works. In short, it is all God. Our only part is in accepting the gift.
Look at it this way—it’s all about the Glory of God. All of our efforts will fail. We cannot erase the stain of sin on our lives. We cannot obey His commandments. We get defiant, frustrated and discouraged. Thinking entirely too much of ourselves, we lose sight of the fact that we are powerless to reverse our fate, but for the Grace of God.
Paul writes to the Romans:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.
“And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:1-8)
Faith flourishes in love
Our faith glorifies God. We were created as an object of love and that love grows and flourishes through faith. When I first came to faith I attended a small Baptist church in California. Those memories are warm and just recollecting my days there lifts my spirit.
I was just beginning to scratch the surface of discipleship. I was full of feeling, but had no understanding of my true relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. For new believers, it can be an emotional time. There’s excitement and in so many cases they are “on fire” for the Lord.
But that passion can quickly fade. Following the Christian path can be difficult, as there are more people who don’t believe than do believe. We want to share the faith, but there’s rejection. We think it’s us being rejected, but it’s the Lord who is being rejected. Still, we take it personally. People will fall away not realizing that their relationship with God is secure and He beckons them to draw closer.
Faith not about feelings
Our faith is not about feelings. It’s about seeing the truth. We are called to live in the Spirit and not in our heads. The Apostle Paul talked about the flesh being corrupt, and so to focus on feeling is the corruption of our calling.
The flesh (our feelings) gets in the way and that’s why we don’t feel the connection with God, even thought it’s been there the whole time. Be encouraged. Once God has written your name down in the Lamb’s Book of Life, your ticket to heaven is sealed. That’s because God loves you and there’s nothing you can do about it.