Hooked on a feeling. I know it sounds a bit odd to write about a relationship with God based on the lyrics to a song released in 1974 that has no relation to God, but bear with me here.
As I was getting ready to go out and get a coffee today, I was singing that song to myself and the lyrics made me realize something: that quite often, our faith is hooked on a feeling. To word this differently, so often we allow our faith in Christ to be dependent on a feeling we have, like a Spiritual high.
It is such a risk to allow ourselves to base our faith on our feelings because not only does it give us a faulty faith, but it makes us weary as we are constantly in search for a feeling rather than the Kingdom itself. When we become hooked on the feeling of faith, rather than the fact that our faith is based on we find ourselves in the desert place, no direction, and no knowledge of where to go.
Why? Because feelings are deceiving. The deceptions our feelings provide distract us from the eternal truth that God has always been and will always continue to be. If it’s hard to think of examples of where this happens, have no fear (!!!), I’ve been distracted from eternal truths of God countless times, all because I’m searching for truth in my feelings, and I decided to write them out:
BEING HOOKED ON A FEELING DISTRACTS US FROM THE FACT OF:
1) God’s faithfulness:
The problem with convincing ourselves that there must always be a feeling with our faith is that it causes us to subconsciously believe that God’s works in us are based on His feelings as well. The fact about God is that despite how much we run from Him because we don’t feel something He remains faithful to us. The faithfulness of God is far more than us feeling His presence. Can we feel His presence? Yes, of course! Will we always feel it? No, but that is why faith is called faith.
God is not faithful because we feel Him, God is faithful because despite what we feel He is still working for the good of His children. This statement does not only prove the love of the Father, but it also proves that our feelings never hinder the will of God, they only hinder us in our relationship with Him. God’s faithfulness does not depend on our feelings as do our feelings fail to prove His faithfulness.
He is faithful: fact, not feeling.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
2) God’s goodness
There are days that feel better than others. There are moments, conversations, and relationships that feel better than others. Yet just because I feel good about those happenings, doesn’t mean they are good, and vice versa. There are moments in my life where I’m going through a situation that doesn’t feel so good, you know those kind of situations? People leave, you lose the job, your relationship ends, something is done to you, those kind of situations. They don’t feel so good, but that doesn’t change the goodness of God.
Usually, our definition of the word “good” is a noun that is pleasing to the eyes, ears, sense of touch, taste, or makes us feel good. Whether this is art, music, food, conversation, sex, anything pleasing really, it is good if we like it. Yet the goodness of God does not depend on our definition of good, since He is and has made it evident to us what the pure and true definition of good is Himself.
God is good for an infinite number of reasons, and none of those reasons are dependent on the ‘good feeling’ that we desire, since our flesh is deceiving. God is good because He is a just, wholesome, and loving (and many more things)– not because He does the things our flesh desires.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Just so you know, this part of the Chapter is titled, “Present Sufferings and Future Glory”, super good chapter, give it a read.
Last but not least, of course, love. Over the past few years I’ve come to realize that love is a very overused and underrated word. We “love” our parents, yet we use the same word to describe our “love” for pizza. It seems as though the word / action of love has an abundance of definitions and levels of affection, so how do we consider the love of the Father if we cannot entirely grasp what our definition of love is?
We Cannot Comprehend Love
As cliché as that sounds, we are unable to comprehend what love is because we have a twisted definition of love.
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
As I sat with the grade 12s at Portico Community Church last night, we spoke about what it means to be “so loved”. We spoke about how God so loved the world that He gave us his one and only son, not only to perform miracles and show His glory, but to sacrifice himself for our sins, just so He could have the chance to have a relationship with us.
Another hindrance is that Humanity very often mixes up love and lust, but there is such a fine line between the two. Love does not exist to fulfill our momentary cynical desires, while that’s all lust is. God’s love for us is more than a feeling, and our acceptance of His love is more than a feeling. Many relationships fail because when the feeling goes away, the relationship ends, but that is not love. Love is far more than a feeling; love is a choice, and even though we sin against Him every single day, He loves us deeply.
“But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We cannot comprehend God’s love, because His love is beyond understanding. Our own doings cannot bring us to the understanding of the deep, affectionate love God has for us, but the Holy Spirit brings understanding. Matthew 5: Ask, Seek, Knock. And it is such an incredible thing when the Holy Spirit gives the slightest comprehension of God’s love .
There are many times I don’t feel God’s love, and that used to hinder me, but I came to the realization that God loves me immensely despite what I feel, and I know that for a fact.
As hard as it can be to describe something that I cannot fully comprehend, I am sure of this: We must not become dependent on the feeling of God’s love, but on the fact that God is love, and He reveals Himself to us in different ways and at different times.
All in All:
Dependence on our feelings cripples our faith, and blinds us from the fact of God’s character. We cannot shape and define God the way we desire Him to be because we desire some pretty twisted things, but God is pure.
God is light. Just because we cannot see the sun or directly feel it’s heat at night, does not mean the sun does not exist or is failing to fulfill its purpose. Just as the sun, just because we may be facing obstacles, experiencing things that our flesh does not desire, or don’t feel a supernatural phenomenon of love all the time, does not mean that God doesn’t exist, or is not working for the good of His children.
God is eternal truth – and truth is not, nor should it be justified strictly by a feeling.