Feelings vs. Facts


Let’s take a good look today at a popularly-believed myth. Here it is:


Myth: You must have strong feelings about God to have a good relationship with him.


This is a trap I often personally fall into. Let me paint a picture of one of the ways this myth sneaks into our lives:


You go to church one Sunday. You’re not feeling particularly happy or joyful that day. Maybe not down in the dumps, but just middling. You see someone else during worship who is absolutely enthralled with God. You can see it – the smile, the raised hands, the closed eyes, the look of radiance that flows from the person. What kinds of thoughts and emotions might you have?


It’s very possible that you may resent the way the other person feels. You may feel suddenly worse because you don’t feel that way. And – here’s the myth – you may suddenly wonder what’s wrong with your relationship with God, because you don’t feel that way.


Let’s take a look at the truth by considering a few key passages that talk about how we are to assess our relationship with God:


--- John 15:5: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Then, Galatians 5:22-23 gives us a great list of what “fruit” means: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” TRUTH: we assess our relationship with God by the fruit we are bearing.


--- John 15:10: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.” TRUTH: we assess our relationship with God in light of our obedience to his commands.


--- What commands? Well, one command is given in verses 12-13: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” TRUTH: we assess our relationship with God by our love and service to others.

Interesting ... fruit, obedience, and service. All measurable quantities. No talk about emotional intensity, or feelings of love, or anything subjective. God gave us firm anchors to hold on to. He didn’t want us to ever wonder about “how we are doing” in our relationship with him, so he told us what to use as a yardstick: BEAR FRUIT, OBEY GOD, SERVE OTHERS.

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