“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
— 2 Corinthians 5:7
Have you ever said to yourself or to someone close to you, “I just don’t feel that I have faith”? Have you ever doubted the steadfastness of your belief in God because you didn’t feel happy or excited about your relationship with Jesus Christ?
Many Christians confuse faith with feelings. They think that if they really have faith, they’ll feel certain emotions. But faith isn’t based on feelings. Feelings are like the waves of the sea, in constant motion and continual change. Our feelings change from day to day and from hour to hour. But faith underlies all of that like the rock beneath the waves. Faith is about trusting in Jesus Christ, who never changes.
One day Martin Luther, that great man of faith, experienced one of his frequent periods of depression. While in this depression, Luther’s arch-enemy, Satan, came to him and asked if he felt his sins had been forgiven. Luther responded that he knew that his sins were forgiven because God had declared that truth in His Word. The Scripture does not say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, then thou shalt feel saved,” but “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” And so, even as he felt depressed, Luther had faith based on scriptural truth.
Charles Spurgeon tells us that a good illustration of faith is the limpet. The limpet is a small creature that dwells by the sea and clings to rocks. If you manage to sneak up on one and strike it with a stick, it falls from the rock. But if you hit a neighboring limpet, the first limpet becomes aware of potential danger. At that point, you can hit that limpet until you break your stick, and it will never fall off because it clings to the rock for its life. “That,” said Spurgeon, “is an illustration of faith.”
Faith is clinging to Jesus Christ, not some fleeting feeling. So no matter how you feel today, tenaciously hold onto Jesus Christ. When in doubt, don’t gauge your faith by your feelings. Go to God’s Word, and read His promises. Stake your faith on God’s promises, clinging to them for your very life, because when the waves of your emotions roll over you, God’s promises will remain steady beneath you.
“Often our feelings have more to do with
our digestion than with our religion!”