I know as Christians we’re not suppose to rely on our feelings because they always changes based on our circumstances but its hard not to define the state of our relationship with christ without them. My question is how can a christian rest/find refuge in the truth regardless of what his feelings are. Is it simply by reading the word and praying more often?
Welcome to Connect!
Feel free to have a look around. There are a lot of interesting and kind folks on this forum.
By the way, You’ve got an amazing question which hopefully, I might be able to discuss a bit.
Feelings can be inaccurate and untrue.
But our thoughts can also be inaccurate and untrue too…
Smart people and not-so-smart people have to deal with this same problem.
I would point out that, while our thoughts and feelings can be prone to error, it doesn’t mean we should disregard either one. The development of our thinking matters; and as a believer our thinking should work in concert as we contemplate scripture in the renewing of our minds.
Feelings are sometimes wrong just like perceptions are sometimes wrong. But that doesn’t mean perceptions and feelings don’t matter. Feelings are triggered by perceptions. And feelings matter because perceptions matter. Perceptions matter because interpretations and conclusions matter… and interpretations and conclusions matter because beliefs matter.
Our “emotional thinking” comes across way more obscure than our “rational thinking” but each of them has an important “voice” in our inner conversation.
And there’s a need to work at translating those obscure feelings into thoughts that can be thoughtfully considered and directed in light of scripture and God’s spirit as He guides us through his word.
So, we don’t trust feelings for feelings sake. We ponder why we feel the way we do so we can best discern things rationally and with scripture.
It’s important to be able to think through why we feel the way we do about something (or someone), and eventually come to the point where we’re able to put our finger on it and consider it rationally with scripture. Of course this takes a certain amount of time and patience and experience; not to mention that sometimes you get stuck. So to supplement this it can be helpful to have a trusted, strong christian family member or friend to talk to in order to talk it out and clarify what you’re thinking and feeling and why.
There are always certain unknowns that will remain because we don’t know all things. But all of this is part of who we are when we bring our requests to the one who does know all things.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
This is such a good question, @AJ_KD. And it can also be a really difficult one to answer!
Here are a couple of thoughts off the top of my head in response…
- It’s never about just reading the word or praying.That’s too simplistic. Those practices are not a magic pill.
- However, sometimes it can be that simple. It all depends on how we approach God. Depending upon how you are feeling about/towards God at that particular time, it could either help or hinder you meeting with Him. Have you ever thought about what you feel about God? How would you describe him? As you know, God is personal…meaning, we can relate to Him, much like we would a person. If God weren’t God, would you want anything to do with Him? Just some reflection questions for you. No need to answer them here if you don’t wish.
- What is the truth you are seeking to find refuge in? And what do your feelings tell you about that truth?
As @timotto mentioned, feelings point to truth too. You’d just need to figure out what that truth is it’s pointing to!
I know that God is omniscient and omnipotent, I know he’s capable of having personal relationships with human beings who genuinely seek him, I just don’t know if I’ve actually met him for myself. I feel like i rely so much on doing works to have a sense of assurance that I’m pleasing God. It just feels like a one-sided relationship most of the time
What you wrote twigged this verse in my mind:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30]
You mentioned doing a lot of things with the hopes of knowing that he is pleased with you. You want assurance that you’re doing what’s right and good with Him. I can see how that could feel one-sided. It seems you are always giving, and never really receiving back the affirmation you need/want in return.
You also mentioned that you know that God is capable of having personal relationships. I hear you, but does it feel like to you that he’s interested in having a close one with you? Not one where he’s merely your boss or other authority, but one where you’re his deeply-loved child.
It was a game-changer for me to be hit with the realisation that God was actually interested in not just what I do – strangely enough, the more I get to know him, the more disinterested he seems in my ‘doing’…my attempts to earn his love – but he also cares about who I am/am becoming. And he cares not for His own sake or the sake of the world or whatever, but he cares about me for my own sake. It seemed completely illogical that this was the case. Psalm 8:4 often plays on repeat in my head:
What is mankind that you are mindful of them; human beings that you care for them?
God’s ‘yoke’ really is so much easier in many ways than the ones we put on our own shoulders. That doesn’t mean that we won’t be challenged in the process; but it does mean that we can know a measure of freedom that we hadn’t otherwise.
Do you believe that God is interested in you?
@AJ_KD, what you have written strikes close to home with me as well. In the denomination I grew up in we were taught to always do good deeds and obey commands in order to please God and retain His favor as well as our keeping salvation. We would say we know we cannot be saved by our works but didn’t understand being saved by grace through faith, and that none of our works are good enough to save us and that only Christ’s blood could do that. We also did not believe that the Soirit swells in Christians anymore and essentially quenched the Spirit by that belief and we also would not associate with other denominations because we believed they were false teachers and lost. Because of these things, having a close relationship with God was difficult and our minds were turned into ourselves in a spiritually unhealthy way. We were arrogant and prideful as well.
Moving forward in my life and leaving the old denomination of my youth, I learned from other Christians what it meant to be saved by faith, and how much more precious was the gift of salvation that we could never merit but that was given to us freely. The more I learned about God and the truths in the Bible, the love that Jesus had for sinners and for me, and how He forgave us in spite of the sins we have committed, the closer my relationship with Him became. I think it was a “less of self and more of Thee” mindset that made the difference.
If you can read your bible and get to know more about our God with the perspective that He is loving and always willing to forgive any who repent of being sinful, and to learn what it means to walk after the Spirit and lean less on your good works merely as acts to please God and pray for the Spirit to fill you with the fruits that He bears (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV) and through love long to please God as an outpouring of gratitude, you may experience more closeness to Him. I have also heard it said that we will never have a truly deep relationship with God if we do not have relationships with Christians of many different kinds. I think this makes sense because through that kind of fellowship with the brethren we learn so much from each other and our different experiences which helps us to see different aspects of God that we wouldn’t see from our own lives.
I hope I wasn’t being presumptuous in anything I said and that you will be able to experience a close relationship with God. I used to wonder myself how people ever achieve that closeness but I found over the years as I’ve learned more about Him and about other believers that I have found that closeness. Hardships too drew me closer as I knew only our Father could give me the strength and wisdom I needed to get through hard times. God bless you brother in your search.
So the question is this: Do you offer your life to God as a simple response to His Love, His sacrifice and His grace? Or do you try to offer your life to God to try to not sin…and trying to do things to prove that you belong in the category of being a Christian?
Can you see which one is an actual belief of the gospel?
We carry both sin and shame in coming to God as a failure. But coming to God as a tried and true failure, is actually the only reasonable exchange God offers in His plan for salvation.
If you were to come to Him with “reasonable” excuses for why you sin…justifying it to diminish the actual guilt, would that be good grounds for your justification moving forward?
God is willing instead to freely forgive you and to take your actual sin and shame in exchange for His payment for it and His cleansing and fellowship moving forward.
If this seems somewhat biblically “off” or somehow oversimplified… If somehow, something about this gospel doesn’t seem quite right then don’t accept it yet. It’s important to work through your actual objections if you have actual objections. Discuss your concerns openly if you have them. Don’t accept “blow-off” answers to questions that are close to the issues of your heart…
Do what it takes. Wrestle with things you need to understand as you come to terms with what Jesus did to pay for the sin of the world and how that matters to you.
But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven. Luke 5:19 -
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I think having a relationship with Christ should stem from our willingness to express gratitude for his work on the cross and along with that sinning becomes less of a problem. I also believe the bible can be believed t be truth in its entirety without it being understood completely. I think the most difficult task is not carrying the burden of sin but instead enjoying the gift of grace.
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:6
No, I needed to hear that, thank you so much for responding. I have no doubts about God’s character, I think if I take that approach that the work he’s done for me on the cross should compel me to live in truth and as an act of gratitude I’ll be much closer to him. I look back at what i said and now i’m telling myself it can’t be a one-sided relationship if God has already saved my soul from eternal death and even in this physical world he’s still working in our lives despite me distancing myself from him. I pray that God will continue to work in my life so I’d be a blessing unto others.
You are right when you said it can’t be a one sided relationship. I have heard many ask why God is so distant, but really I suppose that we are the ones who are being distant, not God, when before we even existed he made a plan to save us. He has always known us. It just takes time for us to realize that and to really know him.