Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 1

3 Dec

Lately, I’ve been swamped with a lot of things.  And, as a result, I haven’t been able to update this blog as much as I would hope.  However, recently, there has been this press on my heart to address a certain issue that has come up again and again in my conversations with many students of Ekklesia521.

The issue goes something like this: “I know what Christ has done for me intellectually; I know about the Gospel in my head.  The problem is, I don’t feel it in my heart.”  Before I begin to address this issue, let me say a few words first (and this is specifically to those of you in Ekklesia521 who are struggling with this issue):

1.  Please understand that I, too (along with the rest of the teachers), struggle with this same issue often.  I know it’s hard to believe (note the sarcasm), but we – meaning the teachers and I – live in the same exact world as you guys do.  By that, I mean, we also live in the same culture that places such a huge emphasis on experience and feelings.  And so, please don’t get the false impression that this is something that the teachers don’t struggle with ourselves – we do.

2.  Also, please remember that we share a similar history.  That is, we grew up in a church environment in which spiritual experience was given an almost unhealthy emphasis.  That’s the reason why many of us, still, don’t feel we’ve encountered God unless we’ve felt the overwhelming love of of God, cried, or physically manifested (e.g. healings, tongues, shaking, etc.).  And as a result, when we don’t experience these things, we often leave discouraged and defeated, wondering, “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why not me?”

3.  With that said, please understand that I do, in fact, positively affirm and believe that God, the Holy Spirit, works in those ways.  That is to say, I do believe that there are moments that God overwhelms us with an inexplicable sense of love (but not always).  I do believe that there are moments in which the Holy Spirit moves us to tears (but not always).  I do believe that the presence of God is manifested physically – through healings, tongues, etc. (but not always).  Any Christian who would say that these things should be normative for the Christian is irresponsible at best… and dangerous at worst.

All that to say this:  We must recover a healthy understanding of the place of feelings and experience in our relationship with God.

To help us navigate through this issue, what I wanted to do was to take insights from C.J. Mahaney’s book, Living the Cross-Centered Life, and share them with you guys in the following days and weeks.  Coming from a Charismatic background (and by Charismatic, I mean it in the theological sense where they do love the person and the work of the Holy Spirit), but also being firmly rooted in Scripture, C.J. Mahaney is, in my opinion, our most suitable guide to help us through this issue.  God has used him immensely to guide me through this issue personally.

Let me leave you with a quote from his chapter titled, “The Divine Order: What you Feel vs. What is Real.”  He says this:

If we want our hearts to be moved by the Gospel, if we want our emotions engaged, if we want to be truly amazed… we have to start by putting our feelings in their proper place.

I pray that these posts that will come in the following days and weeks will be profitable and encouraging to you, as it has been for me.

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4 Responses to “Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 1”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ekklesia521: Undone By Grace » Blog Archive » Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 2 - December 4, 2009

    […] my last post, I began to address a certain issue that I’ve noticed has been coming up more and more […]

  2. Ekklesia521: Undone By Grace » Blog Archive » Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 3 - December 6, 2009

    […] Part 1 of this series, I made the claim that we absolutely must recover a healthy understanding of the […]

  3. Ekklesia521: Undone By Grace » Blog Archive » Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 4 - December 8, 2009

    […] the previous posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), C.J Mahaney has been helping us identify and expose the idolatry in all of us […]

  4. Ekklesia521: Undone By Grace » Blog Archive » Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 5 - December 14, 2009

    […] emotions, and experiences in their proper place, C.J. Mahaney writes the following (you can find Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 here): The Voice of Our […]

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