“Hi! How are you?” How many times have you asked or been asked this question? My guess is that it’s too many times to count. It seems to be a question derived more out of habit and custom than from actual concern for ones well being. So let me ask, how DO you feel?
As followers of Christ, does it even matter how we feel? Is GOD even concerned with our feelings? The answer is a resounding YES! It is not the same concern about feeling and emotion that the world talks and cares so much about. (My wife calls the worlds concept of self-reflection “navel gazing.”) GOD wants our sense of self and our “feelings” to be tied up in him, not the things of this world.
In his book Desiring God, John Piper points out that the scriptures make it clear that our feelings matter to GOD, but our feelings are to be a reflection of GOD; they are a result of the renewing of our minds through Christ Jesus.
We are commanded to have many feelings:
- Joy– Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
- Hope– Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
- Fear– Luke 12:5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
- Peace– Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
- Zeal– Romans 12:11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
- Grief– Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
- Desire– 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation
- Tenderheartedness– Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
- Brokenness and contrition– James 4:9 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
We see here a large range of emotions. The difference between the way Christians are to feel these emotions and the way that those who do not follow Christ feel them is that, at the center of our emotion, we find the Lord. When we mourn our sin, GOD is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9); he lifts us up (James 4:10). This results in Joy. This joy is in him, not in ourselves and it gives us strength to live for him (Psalm 28:7).
How do you feel? I pray that you feel the joy of the Lord today. I pray that you will rejoice in the GOD of your salvation: Jesus Christ. And I pray that the peace of GOD, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.