THE LAW OF FAITH
"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."
Devotion 22 of 30
FAITH IS SUPERIOR TO EMOTION
Human emotion is not to be trusted. It is something that can be a blessing or a curse. It can move David to leap and dance in praise to God (2 Sam 6:14). It can also constrain Esau to sell his birthright for a single meal (Heb 12:16). Emotion is more soulish than spiritual. It is a slave that must be governed by a higher principle.
Faith towers over emotion, or human feelings. When Abraham obediently goes to offer Isaac, his emotion is tempted by a probing question from Isaac. "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" (Gen 22:7). How the question must have wrenched the soul of the patriarch. It was a temptation to draw back from obeying the word of the Lord. He had been told to offer Isaac, and the command had not been modified by an allusion to a lamb God would provide. Abraham does not crumble under the oppression of emotion. Faith, superior to emotion, rose to the occasion. "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son" (Gen 22:8).
Faith is superior to emotion! Think of the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whose Hebrew names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were commanded to serve the gods of Nebuchaddnezzar, and bow before a golden image he had made (Dan 3:14). When they refused, the earthly sovereign spoke clearly to them. "If ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" (Dan 3:15). Here was a test emotion could not pass! Fear stood like a ravaging lion to devour these young men. But faith rose like a mighty champion, superior to emotion. Hear these young men as faith constrained them to respond. "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Dan 3:16b-18, NIV).
Faith has emotion, yet is higher than emotion. It channels emotion into trust and expectation rather than fear and hasty resolution. There is no more fervent person than the one who believes God! There is no greater exhilaration than that of being dominated by hope--a joyful expectation of good things to come.
Emotion is flighty and untrustworthy. It is soulish and rises and falls with circumstance. It must never be allowed to sit upon the throne, but must be strictly governed. Unless it is brought under the dominion of faith, it will eventually leadone into the snare of the devil.
Faith is superior to emotion! It can motivate Godward when emotion becomes weak and unable to stir the heart. Faith obeys God, for example, whether it is painful to do so or not. Obedience required Abraham to leave his home and his father's kindred, and eventually fo to a mountain in Moriah to offer his only begotten son (Gen 12:1; 22:1-2). Obedience led Stephen to endure being stoned to death (Acts 7:54-58). The supreme example was our Lord Jesus, who was obedient, "even to the death of the cross" (Phil 2:8).
It is important to underscore the danger of a religion that is anchored in emotion--and there is much of this in the religious world. That is the type of religion that thrusts people into spiritual jeopardy. Beware of any religious emphasis that leaves you feeling good, but unable to trust the Lord!
PRAYER POINT: Father, thank You through Jesus for faith, that enables me rise above my own emotions, and to govern them in the power of the Spirit.
-- Tomorrow: FAITH TRANSCENDS EXPERIENCE --