I was raised in church my whole life but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I surrendered everything to Christ and began to search, explore and long to understand the true meaning of my faith. When I first turned everything over to God I was taught a model that is pretty standard for “Christianity 101”, it goes like this. My life, my decisions and my christianity was described like a little train that had an engine, a coal car and a caboose. These things represented Fact > Faith > Feeling.
The decision to follow Christ was based on the FACT that God loved us and gave his son to die for our sins. This being historical and factual is critical. The FACT is what pulls the train along. If it’s not true, then everything else doesn’t matter because the rest of these cars aren’t going anywhere.
Next came FAITH: This is our conscious decision to trust Jesus with our lives and receive the gift He has offered to all. Faith means you choose to believe the fact and as a result you are reborn spiritually and grafted into the life and family of God.
Now the caboose was the FEELING, or my emotions. It was just kind of tagging along behind. The fear was that if you depend on your feelings then what happens in those moments in life when you don’t “Feel” saved? So the message was very clear. Don’t let your feelings drive the train. Live on the faith that believes in the facts regardless of how you feel about your current place.
For the record, what I just described is precisely right.
However, after a while the message began to be translated that because feelings cannot always be trusted they should simply be dismissed. So at times churches became full of spiritual Spocks.
When I was a kid I loved to watch Star Trek. The tension between Spock and Bones was palpable. Spock was a rational, logical Vulcan void of any feeling and reduced to exist only in a world of reason. Bones was the passionate, emotional and high strung doctor who lived only in a world of intuition and feeling.
It was top notch TV. While Spock made for a fascinating television character, he doesn’t make for a very good follower of Christ.
God never tells us to ignore our feelings or dismiss them. After all he created us with the beautiful and incredible capacity to feel. It is His gift to us. All He simply does in scripture is WARN US. He warns us that while they are beautiful and make life far more enjoyable, they are also DEADLY and must be managed properly to insure that our lives are not lived in dangerous extremes that can wreck us, our families or our faith.
God makes it clear that if we do not learn to master them….they will indeed master us.
Beginning June 5 we are beginning a new series here at CCA called DEADLIEST CATCH. For a few weeks we are going to see what God’s word says about navigating and mastering our emotions. Trust me, this is one series that could change everything.
Hope to see you there at 9:30 or 11:15.
All for Christ, J.Mark