Wise leaders should have known that the human heart cannot exist in a vacuum. If Christians are forbidden to enjoy the wine of the Spirit they will turn to the wine of the flesh….Christ died for our hearts and the Holy Spirit wants to come and satisfy them.
If you have the courage to let Christ into every room of your life, He will come in and redecorate your life so it is more beautiful that you ever imagined possible. But you’ll never know until you start opening those doors.
Like supernatural effervescence, praise will sometimes bubble up from the joy of simply knowing Christ. Praise like that is…delight. Pure pleasure! But praise can also be supernatural determination. A decisive action. Praise like that is…quiet resolve. Fixed devotion. Strength of spirit.
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.
It is wonderful how the exercise of one’s will in a matter like this will eventuate in the correct emotions. Determining to wish that person’s good; deliberately trying to do something loving for him; and praying for him – all this will some day bring about the emotion of love itself. But love, as the Bible interprets it, is an affair of the will, not necessarily of the emotions.
A basic trouble is that most Churches limit themselves unnecessarily by addressing their message almost exclusively to those who are open to religious impression through the intellect, whereas…there are at least four other gateways – the emotions, the imagination, the aesthetic feeling, and the will – through which they can be reached.
Assurance is in God’s word, not in our hopes and feelings. This is the whole purpose of the Bible–to state God’s conditions and provisions, not only for the beginning of the life in Christ but also for the continuity of this life.
Keep your eye steadily fixed on the infinite grandeur of Christ’s finished work and righteousness. Look to Jesus and believe, look to Jesus and live! Nay, more; as you look to him, hoist your sails and buffet manfully the sea of life. Do not remain in the haven of distrust, or sleeping on your shadows in inactive repose, or suffering your frames and feelings to pitch and toss on one another like vessels idly moored in a harbor. The religious life is not a brooding over emotions, grazing the keel of faith in the shallows, or dragging the anchor of hope through the oozy tide mud as if afraid of encountering the healthy breeze. Away! With your canvas spread to the gale, trusting in Him, who rules the raging of the waters. The safety of the tinted bird is to be on the wing. If its haunt be near the ground–if it fly low–it exposes itself to the fowler’s net or snare. If we remain grovelling on the low ground of feeling and emotion, we shall find ourselves entangled in a thousand meshes of doubt and despondency, temptation and unbelief.
That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an inspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, “Thou art my refuge”
The Risen Christ proclaimed not that we ‘have to forgive,’ but rather, that at last we CAN forgive–and thereby free ourselves from consuming bitterness and the offender from our binding condemnation. This process requires genuine human anger and grief, plus–and here is the awful cost of such freedom–a humble willingness to see the offender as God sees that person, in all his or her terrible brokenness and need for God’s saving power. I would never tell another, ‘You have to forgive.’ But my uncomfortable duty as a Christian is to confess the truth, so lethal to our self centred human nature: ‘Jesus, who suffered your sin unto his own death, calls you likewise to forgive, so that God’s purposes may be accomplished in both you and your offender.’