The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ
BY Rev. Andrew Murray
Chapter 21 The Life of Feeling
"We walk by faith, not by sight" kjv@2Corinthians:5:7.
"Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" kjv@John:20:29.
"Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God" kjv@John:11:40.
In connection with your conversion, there was no greater hindrance than your feelings. You thought, perhaps for years, that you must experience something, must feel and perceive something in yourselves. It seemed to you as if it were too hazardous to simply, and without some feeling, believe in the Word, and to be sure that God had received you--that your sins were forgiven. But finally you had to acknowledge that the way of faith, without feeling, was the way of the Word of God. And it has been the way to salvation for you. Through faith alone you have been saved, and your soul has found rest and peace.1
In the further life of the Christian, there is no temptation that is more persistent and more dangerous than this same feeling. We do not find the word "feeling" in Scripture. What we call "feeling" the Scripture calls "seeing." And it tells us without ceasing that not seeing yet still believing--believing in opposition to what we see--gives salvation."(Abraham), not being weak in faith, considered not his own body" ( kjv@Romans:4:19). Faith simply adheres to what God says. Those who see, yet have no faith, will not partake of the glory of God. Those who have faith in God, but do not see, will witness His glory.2 The man who seeks for feeling and mourns about it will not find it. The man who does not care for feeling will have it overflowing. "He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" ( kjv@Matthew:10:39). Faith in the Word later on becomes sealed with true feeling by the Holy Spirit.3
Child of God, learn to live by faith. Let it be firmly implanted in you that faith is God's way to a blessed life. When there is no feeling of liveliness in prayer, when you feel cold and dull in the inner chamber, live by faith. Let your faith look upon Jesus as near and upon His power and faithfulness. Though you have nothing to bring to Him, believe that He will give you all. Feeling always seeks something in itself. Faith keeps itself occupied with what Jesus is.4 When you read the Word and have no feeling of interest or blessing, read it yet again in faith. The Word will work and bring blessing, "the word effectually worketh in those that believe" ( kjv@1Thessalonians:2:13). When you feel no love, believe in the love of Jesus, and say in faith that He knows that you still love Him. When you have no feeling of gladness, believe in the inexpressible joy that there is for you in Jesus. Faith is blessedness and will give joy to those who are not concerned about the self-sufficiency which springs from joy, but about the glorification of God which springs from faith.5 Jesus will surely fulfill His Word, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"
Every day the Christian has to choose between the life of feeling and the life of faith. Happy is he who, once and for all, has made the firm choice. For every morning, he renews the choice not to seek or listen for feeling, but only to walk by faith, according to the will of God. The faith that occupies itself with the Word--with what God has said--and, through the Word--with God Himself and Jesus His Son--will taste the blessedness of a life in God above. Feeling seeks and aims at itself. Faith honours God and will be honoured by Him. Faith pleases God. Through faith the believer will receive from Him the witness in the heart that he is acceptable to God.
Lord God, the one, the only thing that You desire of Your children is that they should trust You, and that they should always hold conversation with You in that faith. Lord, let it be the one thing in which I seek my happiness, to honour and to please You by a faith that firmly holds You, the Invisible, and trusts You in all things. Amen.
1. There is indeed something marvellous in the new life. It is difficult to make it clear to the young Christian. The Spirit of God teaches him to understand it after he perseveres in grace. Jesus has laid the foundation of that life in the first word of the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" ( kjv@Matthew:5:3). A feeling of deep poverty and of royal riches, of utter weakness and of kingly might, exist together in the soul. To have nothing in itself, to have all in Christ--that is the secret of faith. And the true secret of faith is to bring this into exercise and, in hours of emptiness, to know that we still have all in Christ.
2. Do not forget that the faith God's Word speaks so much of does not stand in opposition to works alone, but also in opposition to feelings. Therefore, for a pure life of faith, you must cease to seek your salvation, not only in works, but also in feelings. Let faith always speak against feeling. When feeling says, "In myself I am sinful; I am dark; I am weak; I am poor; I am sad," let faith say, "In Christ I am holy; I am light; I am strong; I am rich; I am joyful."
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