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Dreams & Visions
Everyone Equal?
Feelings & Experiences
Judging Doctrine
Judging Dreams-visions
A Christian Is - Part 2
Ministries, Ministers, Doctrines Examined

 Feelings and Experiences

Is there a place for them? 
(This in an article in progress. Please send your reactions and comments and thoughts)

Yes, legitimate  feelings and experiences can and do take place in a believer. Our feelings have been created by God so that we might have a fuller appreciation of Him and His creation. And even though that is true, it is just as true that what God has created for good, satan uses as a tool for evil.

What ever makes a person think that evil and wickedness will give us a yucky, creepy feeling? If that were true, then we would sin far less than we do. Sin usually feels good -- at least in the beginning. A person experiences a "religious or spiritual" experience and knows its reality and then begins to defend against attacks against the experience. There are fewer things more real than such deep experiences. But, valid  experiences can always hold up under the light of truth. 

It is easy for someone who is married to understand the difference between intercourse in marriage than before marriage (if that has been their unfortunate experience).  There is little difference between the emotions evoked during the physical act. However, in marriage, there is a far greater dimension to the act in marriage and the act becomes far deeper, wider and more meaningful than ever can be experienced by the unmarried. Drugs also produce real emotions, even though they are based on things not eternal. In the same way, an experience cause have the same emotional or physical reactions and yet have a corrupted source.

"I know it was God, I felt Him". "I felt so clean, good, excited, warm, accepted, free, humbeld, loved, ..." These are all possible and valid reactions to knowing Him. But satan has the same "tools" available to him. Why, some may ask, would God allow satan to use those same feelings against us.  God does not worry about any of satan's deceiving ways. Those that love and seek Him for more than experiences , possessions, or other self-serving reasons will always be able to spot the true from the false, though it may take time. Until a person is married, he cannot know that premarital intercourse is just a poor shadow of intercourse after marriage. Though he may claim that he could not love his partner any more if married, he will never know how wrong he is. Love is deeper and wider and richer than feelings. God wants our relationship to be deeper, wider, and richer than just feelings.

The way to know all of God, is to seek all of Him, not just His benefits. And it is amazing, that once you seek Him for Himself, you will be wondrously surprised at how much more He has to give you in addition to feelings. Things that you will not trade for further reoccurrences of feelings that you have had. But you will never get them unless you are able to press on beyond feelings. God's truth spans all ranges of experiences. It is a friend to experiences that come from knowing Him.

It is very fortunate for us the God has had faithful servants in the past who have documented revivals and the emotions and experiences that occured at the time. It is remarkable how many of the things that are happening today were like the things that happened back then. The value is that those writing about them write about them many years after they happened. They have followed up and seen the fruit or lack of it many years after those experiences happened. It seems that in the midst of revival, the true and the false happened along side of each other. True spiritual leaders were often unable to tell the difference between the true and the false.

Jonathan Edwards writes of such things. Dozens of years later, he concludes that much of the emotion and fanaticism and unusual experiences actually caused the decline of the revival and those who experienced such reactions settled down into "normalcy" and gave up their pursuit of experiences.

Jessie Penn-Lewis writes of the Welsh revival and give testimony to absolutely supernatural happenings. She tells of a woman who was able to discern and tell of a person's specific sin. Once revealed, those in attendance would experience great conviction and remorse and repentance would fill the meeting. Jessie began to "feel" that something was not right and sought wisdom from the scripture and brought here concerns to the leaders, who then prayed about it. They decided the person needed to be confronted.  When they confronted her with the truth of scriptures, a demon was manifested and left her. There are other such things she describes and it should be must reading for anyone hooked on experiences. 

Regardless of how mighty and holy our experiences truly are, they should never be defended nor extolled. Only truth should be defended. After witnessing Jesus glorified and speaking with Moses and Elijah, Peter and John erroneously wanted to "camp" on the experience and the wonder of it. Jesus basically said, "forget it, let us get back to work." Paul reluctantly mentioned his post salvation spiritual experience only once. It was never a centerpiece and he didn't claim any special position because of it. How different it is among the popular spiritual blowhards of today! 

The bible does have occasional supernatural happenings. While there is no indication that God has stopped causing such happenings, there is also never any suggestion that they continued to be everyday and commonplace experiences involving most of the church. Even while they were happening, no one considered them commonplace. Now we hear of spiritual blowhards that regularly talk to Jesus, face to face, and get wisdom, understanding and direction directly from His mouth. Yet, not one of them is doing any of the miracles. Jesus never did things for show, everything He did met a real need. He never said His ministry would go under if the crowd did not give. 

I personally believe that it is possible to be in a meeting that is completely run by false evangelists, prophets or whatever, and to meet God. He will come anywhere to meet a seeking heart. These false ones always use truth to bait followers to their poison. The truth has a life of its own and is greater than the poison for those seeking truth. Legitimate converts never validate the surroundings, but only validate the grace, power, and mercy of God.  It also appears to me that true converts produced as a result of such a meeting are few in number though great testimonies, weeping, and miracles seem to take place. It has been my observation, that those truly saved in such meetings usually take a long time in discovering the deception and bondage that accompanies their new faith. They have packaged the entire event together and consider any attack on the event as an attack against the legitimacy of their salvation. 

The wondrous part of having one's salvation questioned, is that it is easily verified by reviewing and acknowledging the basis of your salvation. The more one reviews such truths, the more the assurance, peace, and rest comes.

 



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