Over the years, I’m afraid many of us have tried to separate faith from feelings. Don’t get me wrong -there is a healthy balance here. For instance, I don’t love God merely when I feel like it, and my faith is much deeper than being swayed by feelings of peer pressure, shame or guilt. And, my understanding of God is based upon the facts He reveals in His Word, not what I feel like He should be. Even more, I make decisions based upon the facts of God’s word, not mere feelings about my situation.
But at the same time, my faith is not devoid of feelings altogether.
I think we would all agree that our faith is all encompassing. It affects our beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. The problem is when we go off the deep end and make faith about only one of these aspects of our being.
Therefore, we must embrace a holistic approach in which faith is an integral part of our mind, body, soul, and strength.
I love the way Psalm 1 explains it.
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
The psalmist describes a man who is stable in his faith. He doesn’t walk in the way of sinners or the counsel of the wicked. He lives a life that is honoring to God -and he is blessed as a result.
Verse two gets to the heart of the man’s existence. Or, as some might say, “the secret of his success.” His delight is in the law of the Lord.
Two concepts stand out to me:
1) The man delights. His feelings are integral to his faith. In fact, they fuel his faith.
2) The man’s delight is in God’s Word. His feelings are grounded -not in his imagination, but in God’s solid Word.
Here is a healthy balance. The man has insatiable desires for God’s Word. He delights in God’s law. At the same time, God’s law continually directs his desires!
If you’ve ever thought, “reading God’s Word is the last thing I want to do,” or “faith is dry and boring,” consider the example of Psalm 1. You can delight to your hearts content.
And, if you say, “but that’s not what I delight in,” God’s Word will reshape your desires and direct you to delight in Him!
Verse three explains the results of such a delightful life:
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
So, go ahead -delight all you want! You won’t be disappointed.