Faith comes from hearing they say yet a lot of people come to me and complain that “yes I know that already, but why don’t I experience it? Why don’t I feel it?”
Apologies to Yoda but the Bible didn’t really instructed us to focus on feelings. It is the belief that matters (Acts 16:31). Focusing on feelings and emotions alone has led to crazy and even deadly consequences in the past.
How you feel about people making ‘emotional judgments’?
I do empathize on what these complaints mean and I know how frustrating it can be. A lot of counselling clients, for instance, KNOW that they are already forgiven through Jesus’ work on the cross but still they feel that God is disappointed in them. These opposing feelings can be so overwhelming that it will drown out the holy truths that run in their cerebral hemispheres and will actually be regarded as reality (even truths) by the person.
So, how do we manage these negative feelings?
With this, I will always go back to what the experts in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) say: “thinking is king”. What goes on in our minds, taking the form of thinking (mental processes), will result to a belief that will affect everything on a person; their emotions and their behaviours included.
But this doesn’t seem to be the case with our everyday experience. As the usual complaint goes: the belief is there but where is the feeling?
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
You see what Paul did there?
The verse reveals that speech comes before beliefs. At the same time Paul also shows that beliefs should come with speech (not just belief alone). That for non believers who are made to say “Jesus loves me” again and again will eventually end up believing that they are loved by The Lord. Eventually these thoughts in the form of spiritual seeds will grow up and touch people’s emotions and demonstrate out to their behaviours.
Of course, this principle can also work in the opposite direction. Like what if a Christian is made to say: “Life sucks!” Or “God hates me” almost every day of their work week? Then yes, these speeches will then sow negative seeds in their minds that will translate to their negative emotions and corresponding behaviours. So, do be careful on what you are exposed to and what you are made to say.
You have heard about churches affirming that “God is good” “all the time!” And “all the time, God is good!” (Man, that reminds me of my mom!) I find these affirmations and declarations very healthy for the Christian mindset as these speech will eventually sink in the believer’s heart.
A lot of wonderful things happen when we speak things out (and our Creator obviously knows this). Speaking things out and hearing oneself is a complex and almost global neurological process.
The most beautiful thing about human speech is that it operates from our free will. Yes, everyone would agree to the beauty of that, as our thoughts can run amok (ie: obsessive disorders, even delusions) and emotions can go wild (ie: mood and affective disorders); our power of what to say again and again and what not to say remains in our control. And this freedom will dictate what remains in our belief system and what beliefs translate to emotions and behaviour.
The bridge to our emotions is governed by this activity that remains in our control. If you have trouble feeling God’s love, it would be wise to declare His love to you again and again through speech! Not through thoughts and not even through whispers. For the entire brain to communicate with itself you will have to utilize not just your language centre but your speech and motor, your hearing, your attentional, your memory, your emotional brain centres. You can even play and sing along worship music and activate more brain centres!!! The more brain centres you utilize the merrier and what you say activates all of these! Oh the great mercy and provisions of our God!
Be blessed today and in the coming week everyone!
You are blessed in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen amen! (Now repeat that a hundred more times until it sinks in!)