Living By Faith And Not Feelings (Part 2)
In part two of our discussion on living by faith and not feelings, Nate and Austin discuss how the Word of God needs to be the ultimate authority in our lives. If we put our trust in the character of God and His Word, we will be able to live by faith and not feelings. If you haven’t already read part one of this discussion you can do so by clicking the link below. (from Podcast Episode # 510 – Live By Faith, Not Feelings | Key Lessons on the Road to Freedom)
Nate: Let’s continue our discussion on living by faith and not feelings. I’ve thought quite a bit about living by faith because I’m the same way as you Austin. There have been some powerful feelings that have tried to hinder me from really following the Lord. At times I would make some gains, like, “Okay, I’m living by faith. I’m not going to live by my feelings.” But then I would just inadvertently slip back into living by my feelings. After some time I would realize, “Wait a second, I’ve got to live by faith.” So, there were just times of gains and times of regression. It took a lot of effort. And I’ve definitely learned some lessons. I’d be interested to hear what you would say about the need to have some absolutes. If I’m going to live by faith, what are some absolute things I need to know about? What would you say some foundational lessons are that you had to learn?
Austin: I would say there are about three things that I had to learn that were foundational. The first one is probably a bit counterintuitive if you’re thinking about faith. A lot of what we hear is that we have to put on faith and be bold in our faith. But I’ve found for myself, that it is foundational to persevere in a lifestyle of repentance. And the reason is that at the cosmic level, God is trying to give us as believers something valuable, but the enemy is trying to allure us away from receiving from the Lord by exploiting our tendency to live by our natural senses.
So, there’s this war inside that causes me to need to continually be purified in my attitudes, motives, loves, and affections. They constantly need to be purified and turned toward the Lord until Jesus is what I love, desire, and treasure, not the things of this world. Because if that’s not the case, I won’t have any faith for what God is trying to give me. Why would I put faith in something that I don’t even want? Why would I persevere past feelings for something that isn’t even valuable to me? So, continuing to walk in a lifestyle repentance is foundational.
The second thing is that, now that my heart is being purified, I really do need to put my trust in the character of God. That is a choice. Faith is not something that’s just going to happen on its own. It’s something that takes an active choice. That choice needs to be very much intentional. The ability to trust in God hinges on my attitude towards the Word of God, because the Word of God is how I know who God is. That is the bedrock of truth for me. If the Word of God doesn’t have absolute authority in my life, then I will find myself compromising here and there and thinking that God doesn’t really stand faithful in certain areas of my life. Or I might look at a certain aspect of my life and think that God isn’t there for me in that way. All of those kind of cynical thoughts and feelings slowly eat away at our faith. So we really have to have a confidence in the Word of God that reveals the character of God to us in a deep way.
I would say that the third thing is choosing to praise the Lord, even in difficult circumstances. I talk about the choice to praise the Lord with every single person I counsel. Choosing to praise the Lord and choosing to give gratitude is so foundational to persevering in a life of faith. It keeps your eyes off yourself and your circumstances and keeps the Lord front and center.
Nate: That’s good. When I was preparing this interview, there was a passage in 1 Peter that came to mind and I’m going to paraphrase it. It’s in 1 Peter 1. Peter is basically saying that you have a living hope and you have an inheritance in heaven that’s incorruptible. And maybe you’ve been grieved by various trials, but that’s only because you need them so that your faith will come out like pure gold, and it will result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus, whom not having seen, you love. What hit me is that when we’re talking about faith, our faith is supposed to be all wrapped up and intertwined with knowing Jesus and reveling in Jesus and worshiping Jesus. I guess I wanted to close this segment by giving you a chance to just testify about Jesus. Something that has become real to you or something that has become precious to you about Jesus as you’ve been learning to walk by faith.
Austin: It is a walk that is tested and there are various trials, and there is a testing by fire that’s going on and I’ve experienced that in my life. But Jesus in the midst of that has been so faithful and I’m so thankful to Him that He is the one who’s in charge of my sanctification in that process. I’m so thankful that He keeps the vision when I lose it. When I’m overwhelmed in the midst of that wilderness and that trial and that fire, He knows what He’s doing. He’s been so faithful to me in that. He always brings me back to the fact that He is purifying me. He’s purifying me to be His bride, to live with Him and to love Him. And even when I don’t feel it, I need to come back to worshiping Him, giving Him my affections, and giving Him my love by telling Him with my words and my actions, even when I don’t feel it, that I love Him. That’s what I really love about Jesus, that He keeps bringing me back to seeing His faithfulness.
Nate: That’s so awesome. And anybody who walks this thing out is going to have their own testimony about Jesus. It’s not just learning some tips about how to be a good Christian; it’s about knowing Him. And He will reveal Himself in ways that are very precious and in ways that it becomes ours.
This post was originally posted at: Pure Life Ministries
Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.