by: FCC Staff
The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
Today’s proverb shines a light on the contrast between insightful wisdom and naïve belief. When what he hold to be true is simply a matter of the last idea we have been exposed to, our behaviors, thoughts, and spiritual practice can become erratic and unmoored from the principals and truth of scripture.
Blind faith isn’t the path of a child of God. There is much to consider when we allow Jesus to become the master of our lives. A purely emotional response to God’s love can lead us to a place where we no longer, “believe” because we no longer “feel” the love of God. God spoke to his people though the prophet Isaiah,
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Yes, there are entire books of the Bible that express human emotion towards our lives on earth, our relationships with God, and with others. These beautiful works of poetry give us a place to experience the joys and frustrations of being children of God. But there are also books of wisdom, history, and prophecy that require us to stop, think and apply reason and wisdom to our lives.
We know that a faith lacking heart, based solely on logic can lead to legalism and self-righteousness. In the same way, letting our emotions be the sole driver of our faith means what we believe, say and do can be as transient as our ever-changing emotions.
Jesus taught a parable about a sower sowing seeds. In this parable most of the seeds fall on soil that does not produce a healthy plant. Jesus explained the parable in-depth to his disciples and part of the explanation is this:
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Matthew 13:19-22)
All these scenarios involve a lack of understanding of who God is, and what he desires for our lives. One person simply doesn’t comprehend the message at all. Another hears it and is really happy, but once life gets tough and their emotions change, they are out. They lack the understanding to know that God is with them, even when times are tough. Or they hear the word, but lack the wisdom to follow God’s word in how to live, and the distractions of life here on earth soon overshadow their faith.
Sometimes when we pray, worship or study God’s word together we can come away having not “felt” anything. We may be tempted to externalize this. Somehow the experience must not have been right... “I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit” we might say. When in fact, the Holy Spirit resides in every believer, regardless of our feelings. Jesus is present whenever two or more gather in his name. (Matthew 18:20) That’s a fact. Jesus never said, “when you feel good after praying, worshiping or studying, that is confirmation of my presence.”
No. Seen or unseen, felt or unfelt, Jesus is present.
We can get blown all over the map when it comes to our faith if we allow our feelings to be our guide. We jump quickly into judgment based on our own feelings and personal preferences. There must be something WRONG with this fellowship if I’m not FEELING God in it. They must not be true followers of God. I need to find someplace I can feel God. I need to be around people who think, act, look and sound just like me, so I can be “fed.”
Paul had other ideas when he wrote to the Ephesian church,
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
That is a snapshot of what it takes to have a healthy, mature, faith and fellowship. To not be tossed about by emotional manipulation or duped by intellectual arguments. When we are told we are to be “speaking the truth in love” that encapsulates perfectly the truth of what our proverb is telling us today. It takes a moment, usually, to engage both our minds, (truth) and our hearts (love) as we process things. Unity in faith.
Too often we choose to be “simple” in what we say or do, letting our emotions, or our belief that we “know best” drive us. Instead we should take time to align both our thoughts and feelings with the truth of Christ in scripture. It is wise and prudent to allow Jesus to be the Master of both our hearts and our minds.
Today, let’s take the time to be intentional and choose our steps wisely. Not simply doing whatever feels our sounds right in the moment.
Prayer for Today
Father, watch over me today and show me your wisdom. Guide my heart and mind in my faith in you Jesus. Help me to choose a wise path today, not allowing my own thoughts and feelings to be my guide, but taking time to allow you to teach me how to bring by thoughts and feelings into obedience to you. Help me not to be blind today, but to see you in all I do. By your Holy Spirit, guide all of me, heart, mind and soul, to do the will of the Father today. Amen.