Tue., Apr. 5/22
If your coming to Christ was a cataclysmic, dramatic and emotional turning full round this was for you a precious and memorable experience. Your awareness of the Holy Spirit coming into you, speaking with you, nudging you in the days after will have been profound. But not every believer comes to Christ in such a manner.
My own recognition of sinfulness, understanding of Christ’s redemption, placing of faith in the efficacy of His sacrifice and commitment to His Lordship all came by a prolonged and reasoned acceptance and deepening understanding. Unable to pinpoint a moment of conversion I arranged one as my personal “Ebenezer” and made a public profession of that faith at an evangelistic rally.
As C.S. Lewis reminds us, our emotions must not be confused with the reality…
“It is quite right that you should feel that “something terrific” has happened to you (It has) and be “all glowy.” Accept these sensations with thankfulness as birthday cards from God, but remember that they are only greetings, not the real gift. I mean, it is not the sensations that are the real thing. The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise when they go and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.” – The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
It is very much like love… true love. You find that better half and are emotionally thrilled. After many months and many years that emotion settles, but you are no less well mated. The reality of your mate’s presence is obvious, regardless of your emotion about it, or any trials you may together experience.
And so in scripture we are urged to steadfastness:
“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming… be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near… As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.” (James 5:7, 8, 11). / “…do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. …commit [yourself] to [your] faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (1 Pet. 4:12, 19).
This word patience, or steadfastness, ὑπομονή, means not swerved from one’s deliberate purpose …loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. The patience required here is not simple acceptance of prolonged boredom, but simple, even joyful, acceptance of prolonged suffering. It is all part of God’s formative plan for us: “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” urges James (James 1:4).
Oswald Chambers writes, “The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 6 entry.
Live looking to God, not to your emotions.