Friday, October 2, 2009
I came upon an article written by R.C. Sproul this week. It's titled "The Sensuous Christian" and in it he explains: "The sensuous Christian is one who lived by his feelings rather than through his understanding of the Word of God. The sensuous Christian cannot be moved to service, prayer or study unless he "feels like it." His Christian life is only as effective as the intensity of present feelings. When he experiences spiritual euphoria, he is a whirlwind of Godly activity; when he is depressed, he is a spiritual incompetent. He constantly seeks new and fresh spiritual experiences and uses them to determine the Word of God. His "inner feelings" become the ultimate test of truth."
We've all seen this type of believer. Great highs and lows - they can actually be fun to be around when they are on a high, but we may just avoid them when they're down. But ladies, the sensuous believer is more common than the extreme friend - unfortunately, I am afraid it has become a way of life in the church.
Do we live by our feelings? Is that our rudder? I guess a better way to ask it is this: Can we be obedient to God when we don't feel like it? Can we worship even when we've had a bad morning? Do we let our feelings dictate our behavior? Because there is no difference between us and the world if we live by our feelings. In Ephesians 4:17-32, Paul reminds the church that they are no longer like unbelievers who have "...given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness...," but rather we are new creatures, which "...in the likeness of God have been created in righteousness and holiness of truth." The root of the word "sensuality" is "sense" or "senses". In other words, we are not guided by our senses but by truth.
And what is truth? It is the Word of God. Before He went to the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed for His elect, asking His Father to "...sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth." (John 17:17) We have the complete Word of God to be our guide, and we are called to walk by faith (believing the Word of God and acting on it, no matter how we feel, because God promises a good result).
Ladies, it's a miserable way to live your life if you let your feelings be your guide. Now don't get me wrong - we were created with emotions and feelings, so they are a huge part of us and we must learn how to live with them. But if we truly love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength, we must understand the call to obey and follow Christ, whether or not we feel like it. We must understand that His way is best, that there are consequences for not walking by faith and that ultimately...God is good. He loves us and He knows what's best for us.
Sproul ends his article (which, yes, you will get a copy on Tuesday!) with a plea for his readers to get into the Word - to study and know truth. The only way the truth can guide you is for you to know the truth. Sounds pretty elementary, but in our feelings-led culture, it is vital to stay grounded in the Word.
Okay...off my soapbox...my weekend wish for you is that you purposefully chose to please the Lord with your life this weekend - the words that come from your mouth, the expression on your face, the work of your hands - give all of these to Christ this weekend and see what happens...I think you'll have a great weekend if you do...
See you Sunday!