There A Basis for Your Joy?
Do you feel good about yourself? Your relationship with God? Do you feel good about those with whom you have spiritual fellowship? Do you have joy without measure? A peace which passes understanding? Does a smile invariably crease your face when you contemplate your eternal welfare? It does? Good!...Now for the most important question. Upon what do you base all of these positive emotions?
Hopefully, you have a ready answer to this last question. The proper answer would be, "From a study of God's word, I recognize that I have been obedient to His will, and am a partaker of the blessings that are reserved for His children." Now, you might not word it in exactly the same way, but the point is that your good feelings, your emotions, are based upon an intellectual recognition. You know you have been obedient to God. You know that God has promised blessings to those who are obedient. You know that God keeps His promises. Therefore you are happy. However, many experience that same happiness without that intellectual foundation.
Emotions are peculiar in that respect. You can be happy, sad, peaceful, worried, etc., without a proper foundation. A mother can be worried about the safety of her child, when in reality the child is perfectly safe. A city can sleep peacefully in the supposed safety of its beds, not knowing an earthquake is imminent. A follower of Mohammed can glory in his certainty of an eternal reward, not knowing that salvation is to be found only through Jesus (cf. John 14:6). An emotion is valid only if it is based on fact. Worry is appropriate only if there is the potential of harm; a feeling of peacefulness only if there is actual safety; spiritual joy only if a relationship with God actually exists.
Herein resides the problem with the emotionalism prevalent among religious people today. Too many believe themselves saved, not because they have the facts, but rather because they feel good about themselves. We see that it would be unreasonable for a mother to fret about the safety of her child when she sees and knows her child is safe. Why is it so many can not see how unreasonable it is to base their salvation upon a "feeling in my heart." There is a popular notion that the facts don't matter. That we should stop emphasizing the scripture, and just love one another. That we should emphasize the Man instead of the plan. That it does not matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere. This is simply not so.
I feel good about myself and my eternal destiny because I have obeyed the gospel of Christ. I have heard the saving gospel, and have believed it (John 3:16). I have repented of my sins, and have been baptized to have them washed away (Acts 2:38). I have confessed and am willing to confess the Lordship of Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10). As such, I know that I have the hope of heaven. I worship and work with Christians who follow God's word in matters of worship, work, and daily living. We have a "thus saith the Lord" for all of our practices, and are willing always to defend what we teach and do for God.
Are you happy? It is an important question. But the second is more important. WHY? Upon what do you base that happiness? Think about it.
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