Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feelings, Facts and Faith

I was at the gym the other day.  It was a cold day for the Deep South and our gym is surrounded by glass walls from floor to ceiling 50% of the building.  To (literally) warm-up, I was walking quite briskly around the track.

As I walked, I passed the small bulletin board which holds advertisements, news articles and basically anything anyone wants to post. I saw on the board something which immediately caused a temptation of harsh feelings.  I kept walking, but I wanted to walk over, rip the paper off the wall, tear it to shreds and throw it in the trash.

We have all been tempted to have such feelings before.  They can be prompted by a co-worker, a family member, a boss, a politician -- or many politicians,  even by a rude driver in traffic.  The person the feelings are aimed at is inconsequential here, the fact is that we are presented these feelings by the law of sin in our flesh, by the world and by our spiritual enemy.

As I continued my fast trek around the track, I felt the check of the Holy Spirit in my heart that the feelings I was tempted to feel were not right and I knew that to be the truth.  The truth of the matter is that the Lord loves that person and because He lives in me, He has strengthened me and enabled me to love that person as well. 

If this had been a person who had wronged me in any way, then the truth would be that just as He forgives that person (and me, for that matter!) and because He lives in me, He strengthens  and enables me to have forgiveness for them as well.  That is the FACT of the matter.  It is not debatable, even if I don't feel it is true.

By this time, I had once again passed by the paper on the bulletin board.  Now I was presented with a choice, as we always are when we are tempted.  I looked at the paper and made the conscious decision that as long as it was in my power to do so, that paper would remain on that board.  Each time I saw it, it would stand to me as a testimony to what the Lord says is true about me and His strength and power in me.  By faith, I made the choice to believe what He said was true instead of believing in what I FELT was true.

I continued by walk, but this was a turning point in my inward attitude toward this particular person.  My choice was more than that moment, it affected me for all the moments I have had so far.  It is the Lord who desires to work in and through us to glorify His Son and to work out His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus, but we must make the choice and have the faith to allow Him to do so and work the work of faith as well.

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."  
Romans 13:10

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