Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Focus on Faith, Not Feelings

In review of Job 1:21 it says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (NIV).

Bottom Line:
Regardless of what we get or lose, it is God who provides. He is to be praised no matter what.

What this means to me:
I came into this world with nothing, and I will leave with nothing. I need to understand that its God who gives and God who take away. Regardless of what happens or what I get or lose, God is to be praised.

I must remember that I live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior isn’t always punished. I’m reminded this morning that when I was a new Christian, God gave me a lot of confirming emotions and answered some of my most immature, self-centered prayers, He did this so that I’ll know he exists. But as I grew in faith, he began to wean me of these dependencies.

Overall God wants me to sense his presence, but he’s more concerned that I trust him than feel him. Faith is what truly matters to God, not what I feel.

The situations that will stretch my faith most will be those times when life falls apart and God seems nowhere to be found. This happened to Job. On a single day he lost everything, his family, his business, his health, and everything he owned. Most discouraging for Job was that for 37 chapters, God said nothing!

So how do I praise God when I don’t understand what’s happening and God is silent? How do I stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do I keep my eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears? Rick Warren suggests that I do what Job did: Job fell to the ground in worship and said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21 NIV).

It’s ok to tell God exactly how I feel. Its ok to pour out my heart to God. Unload every emotion that I’m feeling. Job did this when he said, “I can’t be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak” (Job 7:11 GNT).

He cried out when God seemed distant: “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house” (Job 29:4 NIV).

Job did not hide his overwhelming grief. He not not lost his faith in God; instead his emotions showed that he was a man and that he loved his family. God created our emotions, and it is not sinful or inappropriate to express them like Job did. Job had lost his possessions and family in the first of Satan’s test, but he reacted rightly toward God by acknowledging God’s sovereign authority over everything God had given him. Job passed the test and proved that people can love God for who he is, not what he gives.

When things happen, I am to focus on faith, and not my feelings.