“Fact or Feeling”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Jesus was asked by a lawyer to tell him the “great commandment of the Law.” Jesus gave a direct answer. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40
God has commanded that every faculty, every part of what He has made us is to submit to Him in total devotion. Proceeding out of this primary command is our behavior towards others.
This is the summary of the Law and the Prophets. In the New Testament we learn more of God’s provision to enable His people in applying this command. For example, The Apostle Paul wrote, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
I am a Christian Pastor writing to fellow Christians. You may be reading this and wondering why, you as a Christian need to have some pastor write about what you already know?
Here’s my answer: I have found that professing Christians may have memorized these verses and if not memorized, at least are quite familiar with them. Likely, you have attended Sunday School Classes concerning God’s command given to mankind and His expectations which these verses emphasize. Yet, I must tell you that I’ve lost count of how many times Christians have told me that they make choices and decisions in life based upon what they feel will make them happy.
In one sense, this is simply an expression of our fallen nature. We will do what we want to do. We will do those things that we “feel” are right. We succumb to the thought that God wants us to be “happy”, whatever that means!
The God of the Universe, the One who said He has all authority in heaven and earth, Matthew 28:18 has revealed His divine attributes and thereby the means by which we, His creatures can have a relationship with Him. The point is that all of who we are includes the minds that God has given us. By His grace and mercy, we are not those who have been left in bondage to our desires and feelings. God sovereignly enters our minds and pierces our hearts. God makes us new creations in Christ, 2Corinthians 5:17.
The Apostle Paul was very clear in writing inspired Scripture. “Be transformed by the renewal of your minds.” Christians should be examples of those who engage their minds to seek God’s will.
Christianity is certainly more than simply a religion. It is that. But, it is supremely about a relationship. Christianity is God’s revealed means to have a relationship with Him. This is propositional truth. God has given one way. He has revealed that a right relationship with Him is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
By God’s grace this fact is ordained by Him to be lived. As God reveals more of Himself, we are confronted by our creatureliness. We depend upon Him to cause us to “renew our minds.” We are the ones intentionally seeking understanding of what He has said. Yet He is at work in us “both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
God’s command is to our whole person. The word translated by our English word love means total devotion. Therefore, God’s command to love Him with our heart, mind, soul and strength encompasses all of us. The heart is the seat of our wills, the motivator of our actions. It is not simply our emotions, although the heart includes our emotions. The heart must be informed by our minds. Our minds must be renewed by the word of God. Don’t be led astray by your feelings. Engage your mind with the word of God so as to be transformed. Then you will be able to test and discern God’s will, His good and perfect will. This, beloved, is a fact not a feeling!