Before you read further, I should tell you that I think this will have to be more than one post, so consider this the first in a series, and I can't promise the series will be written quickly. But I will finish, which means I must start.
In BSF this week, we read 1 Peter 1 & 2. One of the study questions asked us to look at verse 23 of chapter one and then explain in our own words what it means to be born again. The very next question told us to share how this process has occurred in our own lives. I was so glad they asked. I'll share with you what I wrote:
"At the age of fourteen, my mother, brother, and I joined a church after years of visiting different ones. I had been in a dark and sad, lonely place until that day, when I felt the Holy Spirit wash over and indwell me, and I was changed."
That's how salvation happened for me, folks. He just changed me. I was not the same person on the inside after that. I've never gone back to that dark place because of His grace and mercy, which began working in my life in the realest, most intangible way that day in 1996. I understand that for others salvation is a different experience - more of a conscious turning from one mindset to another in ultimate surrender to who He is. But for me, years passed - maybe until college - before I could confidently state that I was saved that day, because it happened in such an inexplicable way. I remember the rush of exhilaration I felt and the tears I cried on my mother's lap because I felt so overwhelmed by what was happening. But I didn't know what to call it until I was able to look back at my pre-adolescent versus my adolescent years, see the difference, and boldly accept what He did in me that day.
The point I am making is that salvation was a feeling for me before it was a rational doctrinal principle I could stand on. This doesn't make it any less real or significant. It's just the way it happened for me. With that said, I'll save more of my thoughts on faith vs. feeling and why I think it's a lose-lose battle in later posts. Til then, here are some verses to chew on. Perhaps you can add to them?
- Proverbs 3:5-6
- Matthew 18:16 (I think this may be the verse the radio announcer was referring to.)
- Romans 8:26
- 1 Corinthians 3:13
- John 11:35
- Jeremiah 17:9
- 1 John 3:16
- 1 Peter 1:22
- 1 Peter 4:8
- Psalm 37:4
Before I leave you entirely, I do want to make it clear that I don't think feelings should rule our lives and that we should let them run rampant and do whatever they dern well please, but there is a middle ground between being controlled by feelings and being controlled by reason. Is it so crazy that the Lord Himself should be given control even over our emotions as we exercise the self-control to which we have access through His holy Spirit, and as a result of our submission of our entire lives to Him? To me, that's not ceasing to feel or acknowledge feeling; it's just letting Him have my feelings along with everything else.