Monday Morning Devotion- January 1, 2024
Feeling Good About God
Set your heart and soul to seek the Lord your God. 1 Chronicles 22:9
- A devotion written in 2017
So how do you feel about God, today? What about yesterday what were your feelings about God? Same as today? Different? Up and down? Some good feelings? Some not so good? Sometimes puzzled, yet very clear at other times?
I would venture to say that you, just like me, have experienced all of the above at one time or another. God is big and mysterious. It is hard to comprehend this because we look at things in human terms. In humans there is inconsistency. No two people are exactly alike so you can't find just one person to completely pattern your lifestyle after. Our thoughts and actions vary from time to time. It is hard to comprehend that there is anybody who could create the entire universe and keep it running day by day, and still care about all aspects of our lives.
As I started to write this devotion a huge thunderstorm began pounding our neighborhood. The huge oak and the tall magnolia trees outside my office were swaying as the heavy winds whipped across the back yard. I looked out the window and saw that our large garbage can had been blown over on its side; fortunately, it had been emptied yesterday.
Is there a message there or not?
Anyway, I do frequently struggle to differentiate between messages from above and wondering if it's my own selfish desires that are prompting certain thoughts or actions. I guess that makes me human, huh? As if there were any doubts about that.
Reading Dawson McAllister's comments in "Christianity Today" he said: "My relationship with Christ is sort of like riding a roller coaster. Sometimes I'm on fire for God and sometimes I don't feel a thing."
He went on to say that the first thing you have to realize when trying to stop this roller coaster ride is that you can't always trust your feelings. Feelings come and feelings go. Feelings can fool you. Trust facts, not feelings."
The facts, as presented in the Bible, are that if you've trusted Christ, you're a Christian and Jesus said in John 10:27-28 "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and no one can snatch them out of my hand."
No matter how we are feeling about ourselves: our situations, plans, prospects for success in whatever endeavor we are involved in, Jesus is with us. He's on our side. He wants to help us.
McAllister points out this is not to say that "we should completely ignore our feelings. Sometimes our feelings are a pretty good indication of where we are spiritually." They might be pointing out that we have sinned. We may have put God on the back burner to pursue something that appeals to us but may not be in God's will. But they also might be saying that all is well. These feelings will lead us into territory that is God-approved.
Sometimes it is good just to stop and think about where you are with God. Is your relationship with God based on religion? You know certain things about God from reading the Bible, hearing sermons and personal experiences that you are certain were God-oriented.
Or is your relationship more personal? Do you feel like you can carry on conversations with God throughout the day? Are those conversations one-sided? Just about you and your needs. Think about conversations you have had with other people. How pleasant are these when they are just about the other person? Not so much.
Is God with you all the time? Even when you mess up?" Do you treat God as some far-off deity or as a close friend?
Notice I'm asking a lot of questions in this devotion and not providing a whole lot of answers. There are two reasons for that. These are questions I think that we would all do well to address. Maybe not dwell on them to the point of getting depressed if we can't come up with all the answers. Devoting a little time in actually thinking about your views and your relationship with God is healthy.
The second reason I'm not providing answers is that I don't have them. They vary from person to person. Your relationship with the one true God is personal. Jesus makes it so. His life, death and resurrection have impacted everyone's life and each one is different.
But here's the beauty of this whole situation. No matter how you feel about God, you know how He feels about you. He loves you. There is too much evidence to support that to disbelieve it.
Rick Warren pastor of Saddleback Church in California and a mega best-selling author writes: "God's omnipresence and the manifestation of His presence are two different things. One is a fact; the other is often a feeling. God is always present, even when you are unaware of Him, and His presence is too profound to be measured by mere emotion.
Yes, He wants you to sense His presence, but he's more concerned that you trust Him than that you feel Him. Faith, not feelings, pleases God."
So here is what comforts me. I hope it encourages and assists you in your thinking and feelings about God: You can tell God exactly how you feel.
As Warren writes in his daily devotions (Pastor Rick's Daily Hope) "You can pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you're feeling. Job did it He said, 'I can't be quiet! I'm angry and bitter. I have to speak.' (Job 7:11)
God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions."
Hopefully, somewhere in this devotion, you have discovered how to get in touch with your feelings about God. This may be a process, but the journey is well worth it.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for your patience with us when we struggle with our feelings and understanding. We know you love us and want only the best for us, so help us focus on that. Amen!