Monday, September 22, 2008
A few years back, a man who profoundly walked with God wrote a little track (early form of blogging :). In it he set forth three words: facts, faith and feelings.
The facts, he said, are those truth statements that clearly point us to Jesus Christ and explain to us what He has done for us through His crucifixion and death for us and His resurrection to life and ascention into heaven.
Faith - our personal means of connecting to the facts - for instance when I say: "God, I believe the facts...and I am asking Jesus to forgive me of all of my sin and become my Partner for life and eternity." When I say words like that from my heart, it is like I am building a bridge from who and where I am right now into the presence and purposes of God for my life.
And Feeling - what we sense within when we do all of the above. Spiritual wholeness - a feeling of release from the crud, the immoral, selfish, wrongful stuff....and on the other side of the spectrum of feelings, sensing forgiveness, joy, hope and what one Bible verse calls "peace with God."
Facts. We find the facts so critical to connecting in reality with God in the Bible.
Faith. Exercising in the spiritual realm like we do in the material realm lots of times every day...like, walk over a manhole, or fly in a plane lately?
Feelings. The squeeky clean feeling inside...the "all is really well with my soul"...the eternity questions and my destiny in it is now a certain thing.
What the man who introduced these words freshly to all of us also pointed out was:
1. It is usually always a progression - facts -> faith -> feelings - and not some other order.
2. If you have facts and faith that is truly enough. Feelings are ok, but not a must.
Both points have great merit and often helpful in our journey with God.
Ah, but most all of us have been built with a huge feeling feeler (got that? :)
From where I live, sometimes it seems that the order is just not that clean and neat...like sometimes great feelings seem to sweep over me from who knows where? Then I try to assess: is this "cool" or not...and then, if it is good, I try to search out facts to sort out what our response to the feelings stirred up should be. Feelings->faith->facts.
Two days ago I was in one of those moments of great feeling.
I was on a two day retreat with men from all over Utah. We had a number of sessions for teaching (facts). We had moments when faith was released in prayer and action. What stood out to me was the way feelings occured. We had been listening to a teaching from Luke 15 about the lavish love God the Father has for all of us. This was followed by the speaker giving a long and personal illustration about their family learning to love like that.
I found myself so moved that for many minutes during his presentation, I kept having to wipe tears from my face. As the session came to a close the band returned and we began to sing softly to God, some kneeling, others with hands raised.
As I went to the microphone to give closure to the session a man who had not been in the session came forward to share an announcement. His first words were: "There is such a presence of God in this place that I could feel it as I just entered the room."
For a number of moments we all simply stood in the presence of God. Feelings and responses took shape in all of our hearts. The analogy that came clearly to me was that it was like we were all standing in a river (of God's presence) waist deep. It was a time to remember and take action upon.
Facts....faith....feelings. Feelings....faith.....facts. May we know them all and be encountering God richly in these days.