Posted by: splat | July 2, 2012

Should faith be based on feelings?

Should faith be based on the word of God or the way we feel about it at the time? Some base their faith on their past experiences? Are feelings or our past experiences a good test of what we should believe?

Others, without hesitation, would say it should be based on the word of God. However they are often unable to tell you, with any conviction, what outcome they are expecting. Often its just some vague statement like “God’s in control” but this often is just a spiritual cliche. Often, what they mean by that is that they are expecting God to do what is right but then they define what is “right” to be whatever happens. This is a kind of spiritual fatalism.

Now while our faith in God should impact our personal experience I am not convinced it should completely rely on it. Otherwise how is it faith? Some people equate faith to their devotion to God. Someone might say “see how devoted so-and-so is to doing good works”. Is that really faith? After all even the pharisees did good works. Faith to me is trusting God rather than about our good works (although good works can come out of faith).

You often hear people say “so-and-so trusted God or had faith for healing but they died instead”. To them faith shouldn’t be tied to the word of God because, as they claim, those promises in the Word, may not be for you at this time. They believe a special leading of the Holy Spirit should be felt before those promises are activated for you. Hence your faith, according to them, can only be activated by “spiritual feelings”.

Some of these attempt to backup this claim, regarding “spiritual feelings” with the statement that the english word translated “word” has two counterparts in biblical greek “logos” and “rhema” which, according to them, only “rhema” can be acted upon. In their view “rhema” is a tangible experience and revelation of the Holy Spirit whilst “logos” are simply the words on the page.

Whilst I acknowledge that greek has “logos” for written word and “rhema” for spoken word it is tenuous, in my view, to say that only “rhema” should be acted upon.

(NASB)James 1:22
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

The word for “word” used here is “logos” showing that we can, and ought, to act on the written word also. So if we don’t have a specific “feeling” we can still do the will of God.  The exact greek is shown below:

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