God created men and women to live by faith. He also made us with emotions. Faith and feelings are two essential aspects of our humanity. But somewhere along the way, they can get out of order, negatively impacting your Christian walk.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin (Rom 6:6-7).
Paul opens with, “For we know.” Did you know you were freed from sin? You might not feel like it, but it’s true.
Sin’s legal claim on you has been broken. Thanks to your union with Christ, God reckons you to be dead to sin. And God did that for a reason—so you’d no longer be enslaved to sin in your experience. Just as an exonerated man can walk out of court a free man, so, too, can the justified believer walk away from the dominating power of sin.
That’s not the kind of truth you see with your eyes or feel with your hands but the kind you hear with your ears. God proclaims it in His Word about you: your old man was crucified! It’s done! Settled! It’s a statement that you can know. And knowing it, you can believe it. And believing it, you can walk in it. As Newell said: “That is our task: to walk in the faith of these words. Upon this water God commands us to step out and walk” (Newell, Romans, p. 213).
While that’s a fact about you, you might not feel that you’ve been freed. And so, you might be tempted to walk according to your feelings. In that case, you should maintain the proper order here. Evan H. Hopkins, an early Keswick leader, put it this way:
“Do not wait for feeling…Here are three men walking in procession—Mr. Fact goes first, Mr. Faith follows him, and Mr. Feeling follows Mr. Faith. Supposing the middleman turns around and looks at Mr. Feeling, everything goes wrong. His business is to fix his eye upon Mr. Fact, and Mr. Feeling follows him. Get hold of the fact, first of all—free in Christ, free on the cross. There is the fact. Do not reverse the order” (Quoted in Barabas, So Great Salvation, p. 91).
Do you see the problem? You'll make no progress if your spirituality is based on your feelings. You’ll be constantly tripping over your feet.
If you want to grow, you have to put things in God’s order. Bible facts first. The fact is that Jesus died for you and rose again, and when you believed in Him, you were identified with Him. That freed you from sin’s power.
That’s a fact.
Your faith should be in that fact, whether you feel it or not.
When your faith has the proper object, your feelings with follow.
You are freed from sin. Now, walk away.
Thought for the day: Feelings are wonderful decorations but terrible foundations.