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faith in god, not circumstances andy eldred "how am i supposed to walk with god and not be depressed when

i don't feel god?" this was a question a 15-year-old girl recently asked me after a bible study. she wanted to drop out of school because it made her feel depressed to go. she didn't like school and really saw no reason for her to keep going. that very same night i had a conversation with a 17-year-old guy who really wanted to believe that he was saved, but he didn't feel like he was. he was expecting some awesome emotional experience to happen that would prove that god was really with him. i have to admit, i also love to feel god's presence. i like to have a sense of peace and power when i'm facing situations in life that are hard. but what if i don't? does it mean that god isn't real? does it mean that god's presence has departed from me and now i'm left alone to fend for myself? i most emphatically say no! i am not into bashing anyone, nor am i putting myself in the position of being the righteous judge of what is of god and what isn't. but i do feel that many christians, including myself, tend to rely way too much on emotional experiences. i love to have powerful, emotionally charged worship meetings. i love to see people moved in their emotions by the spirit of god. i believe that god has definitely created us to experience him in our emotions. but god has not called us to walk by emotions. he has called us to walk by faith. why would god want us to walk by faith and not by feelings? the clearest reason i can think of is simply because feelings change and god doesn't. i remember once when i was driving down the interstate. now, i have to admit that i was speeding. i wasn't going over 100, but i was moving along pretty good. suddenly in my rearview mirror i saw a cop car with his blue lights flashing, and he was closing in on me. my heart started pounding, and i got this sick feeling in my stomach. i started thinking about my insurance bill, and was asking god to forgive me. i started to pull over when the cop changed lanes and flew past me. he wasn't even after me. now if i decided to live my life according to the feelings that i experienced when i first saw the cop car i would still be sitting by the road waiting for my ticket. see our feelings are most often based upon what we perceive with our senses to be real. for example, when i am experiencing fun and enjoyable things like eating ice cream on a speed boat, i am very happy. but if my ice cream falls into the water and the boat crashes into a tree, i suddenly become very sad, or angry. my feelings are based upon my circumstances. the word happy has the same latin base for the word happen. i'm happy when enjoyable things are happening to me. so my feelings change as fast as my circumstances. my faith must be placed in something that never changes or it's not worth putting faith in. this is the whole reason the bible tells us we are foolish to put our trust in the things of this world. nothing in this world is totally secure and unchangeable. we read stories all the time of hundreds even thousands of people who are killed by mudslides or erupting volcanoes, why do these things happen? because people put their trust in the mountain. they see a big mountain and say to themselves "i can trust this mountain it's not going anywhere. i'll build my house here and raise my family here and i'll be secure." but when the mountain turns out to be volcano

that suddenly erupts or the rains come and half the mountain slides down into the valley, they discover, too late, that they were wrong to trust in creation. see people love to trust in things they can experience with their senses. if they can feel it, taste it, see it, smell it or hear it they feel it must be real. but we have surely lived long enough to know that this is not true. scientists have discovered ways to manipulate the brain to make you feel sensations of flying, or eating or running, while you're sitting in a chair. this is basis of the science behind virtual reality. see this is not how god works. he doesn't try to trick us into feeling something that isn't real. jesus said, "weep with those who weep, mourn with those who mourn." what he's implying is that bad things happen that will cause us to feel emotions that will make us cry. jesus even said it point blank in john 16:33, "in this world you will have trouble," but here's the anchor, "but take heart i have overcome the world." so we see there two sure things in life: 1) we will have trouble; and 2) we can trust jesus. see, if we are wise we put our faith in only that which is eternally secure and unchanging, the only one who fits that description is god. see god doesn't want to us to be emotionally manipulated into becoming a christian. i love to hear a passionate sermon just as much as any other christian, but i don't like to see people make decisions to follow christ based solely upon emotions. our decision to follow christ is must based upon our response to the truth that is being revealed to us through the holy spirit. god is real whether or not i feel like he's real. the scriptures reveal the truth to us and it's up to us to walk in the light of the truth. this is why jesus states in john 14:6, "i am the way, the truth, and the life." the system that controls the worldly mindset says that god isn't real. the only reality is what you feel is reality. and the best way to spend your time in this reality is to do those things that make you feel good. but those who live this way always end up discovering that what god says is true. "you reap what you sow." "sin gives pleasure for a season but in the end there's death." jesus said in john 6:44, "no one comes to me unless the father who sent me draws him." the young man i mentioned earlier, who was having such a hard time believing he was saved, said, "i believe in jesus. i believe in the cross, and i've listened to a lot of preachers and i've done what they told me to do but i still don't feel born again." by this time the tears were flowing. at that very moment i believe god gave me a revelation of what this boy needed to do. all he needed to do was accept that he was saved. the very fact that he confessed he believed in the crucified christ and called upon jesus, proved according to the scripture, that the spirit of god was working in him. he just needed to accept it as true and begin to confess jesus as his lord. as soon as he did this he began experience god's power to help him live the way god wanted him to live. the girl i spoke of at the beginning needed to understand that when we claim to be a child of god, god expects us to live our lives in such a way that brings him glory. not because he's an insecure egomaniac, but because he wants the world to see who he is and what he can do in the lives of those who live according to the truth of his word. remember, god desires that no one would perish but that everyone would come to the saving knowledge of the gospel of jesus christ. he wants everyone to understand how precious they are to him, so precious that he sent his only son to be brutally tortured and killed, so that they could be reconciled to himself. this means that we are called to be the best students we

can be, so that our teachers and fellow students will see god's glory revealed in us. we are called to face every trial with the attitude and confession of the truth in philippians 4:13 "i can do all things through christ who strengthens me." god created us to experience the range of emotions in this life. god even loves for us to have spiritual encounters that we experience through our emotions, but he does not desire for us to walk according to those experiences and rely upon our feelings. our heavenly father wants us to walk by faith, a faith based upon the eternally secure truth of his word.