There is a fundamental flaw running through the theological framework of the American church in this generation. This flaw, simply stated, is that feelings don’t matter. We want people to believe right, behave right, but we don’t care how they feel. This is wrong. God does care immensely how we feel. Many commands touch on how we feel. (Some people make such careful distinctions between words like heart, soul, spirit, emotions, and feelings that they say you can be obedient to these commands and it still doesn’t matter how you feel. That doesn’t make any sense to me. You decide for yourself. Look at the following list of commands and ask yourself, does God care how you feel?
- Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation. Psalm 35:9
- Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11
- Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Philippians 3:1
- Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
- And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
- Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. James 4:9
Many churches today wind up with theology of boredom. They do, indeed, believe right and behave right, but are bored silly. There is no joy, no passion, no enthusiasm, no smiles, no laughter. This is not how it should be. God doesn’t just want us to believe right and behave right. He wants us to feel right. He wants us to rejoice. At times, He wants us to grieve.
We must return to a balanced theology that says we must believe right and behave right, but feel right. Emotions matter to God. He wants a love that feels. He wants a heart that sings with feeling. He wants us to rejoice in Him in a way that touches us emotionally.
My life was forever changed by reading John Piper’s excellent book, Desiring God. He calls it an appeal to Christian hedonism–the relentless pursuit of joy in God. It is a call to be obedient to the command of God to rejoice in the Lord always. He rightly points out that God is most pleased with us when we are most satisfied in Him. I having been striving to be a person who consistently enjoys God ever sense. This book is a reflection of some of the things I have learned.
Come with me, let us learn to not only believe rightly about God. Come with me, let us learn to not only behave rightly before God. Come with me as we learn to enjoy our great God. He delights in the joy of His people.