[b]Part 6: Faith Before Feeling[/b]
It is very important that Christians not be ignorant of the temptations that seem to stand ready to oppose every step of their progress. These temptations are especially active when the soul hungers and thirsts after righteousness and begins to reach out after the fullness of life in Christ.
One of the greatest of these temptations concerns consecration. One who desires holiness is told that he must consecrate himself and he strives to do so. But he meets with difficulty at once. He has done what he thinks is necessary to be consecrated, yet he finds nothing different in his experience. Nothing seems changed as he has been led to expect it would be. He is completely baffled and desperately asks the question, "How am I to know when I am consecrated?"
The chief temptation that assaults the soul at this point and at every step of its progress concerns [i]feelings[/i]. We can't believe we are consecrated until we feel that we are. And because we don't feel that God has taken charge of us, we can't really believe that He has. As usual, we put [i]feeling[/i] first, faith second, and His promise last of all. Now, God's rule in everything is, [i]His promise[/i] (His Word) first, faith second, and feeling last of all. We cannot change this order.
The way to meet this temptation concerning consecration is simply to take God's side in the matter. We must follow His way by putting [i]faith[/i] before feeling. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you all that is not of Him in your heart and life. If the Holy Spirit reveals anything to you, give it to the Lord immediately, and say "Thy will be done." If the Holy Spirit reveals nothing to you, you must believe that there is nothing, and must conclude that you have given Him all. You must not wait to feel that you have given yourself, or that God has taken you. You must simply believe it to be the case.
Sight is not faith. Hearing is not faith. Neither is feeling faith. But believing when we can neither see, hear, nor feel, is faith. The Bible tells us our salvation is to be by faith. Therefore, we must believe before we feel, often against our feelings, if we would honor God by our faith. He who believes has assurance. He he doubts does not.
Once the surrender has been made, it never needs to be questioned. The next point is to believe that God takes what you have surrendered and accepts it as His. He does not accept it at some future time. He accepts it at that moment. From that point on He will begin to work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is in this that you must be content. There is nothing more for you to do, except to be an obedient child. If you begin to question your surrender, or God's acceptance of it, then your wavering faith will produce a wavering experience, and He cannot work in you to do His will. But while you trust, He works. And the result of His working is always to change you into the image of Christ by His mighty Spirit.
[i]I am currently reading through Hannah Whitall Smiths classic [u]A Christian's Secret of a Happy Life[/u] and couldn't continue without sharing this treasure I have found with you. I hope you will be blessed as I have been. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.[/i]