In the Christian experience, which comes first: feelings or facts?

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By BibleAsk Team


Feelings or Facts

In the Christian experience, the question of whether feelings or facts come first is a complex one, reflecting the interplay between emotions and beliefs, subjective experiences, and objective truths. To explore this question, it is essential to examine biblical teachings, theological perspectives, and practical considerations related to the role of feelings and facts in the Christian life.

Biblical Teachings

The Bible addresses the relationship between feelings and facts in various passages, providing guidance for understanding the complexities of human emotions and the certainty of God’s truth. One key aspect of biblical teaching is the importance of discerning between subjective feelings and objective facts.

In Proverbs 14:12, we read, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” This verse highlights the danger of relying solely on subjective feelings or personal intuition, which may lead to deception and error. Instead, Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages trust in the Lord with all one’s heart and leaning not on one’s own understanding but acknowledging Him in all ways. Furthermore, Jesus emphasizes the importance of knowing the truth in John 8:32, stating, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This verse underscores the significance of objective facts and the transformative power of God’s truth in the lives of believers.

Israel had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). The Holy Spirit educates the mind to accept God’s call (Acts 2:14-37). Therefore, we get saved after we have “come to the knowledge of the Truth” (1 Timothy 2:4) and “receive with meekness the implanted word” (James 1:21). And we rejoice after receiving the Word of God (Acts 8:26-39).

However, the Bible also acknowledges the reality of human emotions and their significance in the Christian experience. In Romans 12:15, Paul exhorts believers to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” This verse recognizes the validity of emotional responses and the importance of empathy and compassion in Christian community.

Theological Perspectives

From a theological perspective, the relationship between emotions and facts can be understood in terms of faith and experience. Faith involves trusting in the promises of God and embracing the truths of Scripture, even when emotions may fluctuate or circumstances may be challenging. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This verse emphasizes the assurance and conviction that believers have in God’s promises, even in the absence of tangible evidence or emotional certainty. Faith enables Christians to trust in God’s character and rely on His faithfulness, regardless of their feelings or circumstances.

The Christian doesn’t establish his faith on emotions rather than truths. The basis of Christianity is not build on emotions rather it is build on knowing Christ (Ephesians 2:20). The Christian experience is set primarily on the Truth (John 16:13). Christians are called to be spiritual people (Galatians 6:1). They are “partakers of…spiritual things” (Romans 15:27). They are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And they must “worship the Father in spirit” (John 4:23-24). Thus, they are building a “spiritual house…to offer up spiritual sacrifices” (1 Peter 2:5).

However, theological perspectives also recognize the importance of emotional experiences and the role they play in the Christian life. The Psalms, for example, are filled with expressions of human emotions, including joy, sorrow, fear, and gratitude. These emotional expressions reflect the reality of the human experience and the depth of relationship between believers and God.

Additionally, theological perspectives on emotions and knowledge emphasize the importance of spiritual discernment and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:13, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will guide believers into all truth, helping them to discern God’s will and leading them in the paths of righteousness.

Practical Considerations in the Christian Experience

In practical terms, the relationship between emotions and spiritual knowledge in the Christian experience can vary depending on individual temperament, life circumstances, and spiritual maturity. Some Christians may have strong emotional responses to spiritual experiences, while others may rely more heavily on intellectual understanding and rationality.

Additionally, the Christian life often involves a dynamic interplay between emotions and facts, with emotions sometimes serving as a catalyst for deeper engagement with biblical truths and objective realities. For example, a profound sense of gratitude or awe in response to God’s grace may lead to a deeper appreciation for the facts of salvation and redemption found in Scripture.

However, it is also important for Christians to guard against the pitfalls of emotionalism and subjectivism, which can lead to spiritual instability and confusion. Proverbs 28:26 cautions, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” This verse highlights the danger of placing undue emphasis on subjective feelings without grounding them in the objective truths of God’s Word.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the question of whether feelings or facts come first in the Christian experience is a complex one that involves biblical teachings, theological perspectives, and practical considerations. While the Bible emphasizes the importance of knowing the truth and trusting in God’s promises, it also acknowledges the reality of human emotions and the significance of subjective experiences.

From a theological perspective, faith involves trusting in the objective truths of Scripture while also recognizing the validity of emotional experiences and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In practical terms, the relationship between feelings and facts can vary depending on individual temperament and spiritual maturity, with emotions sometimes serving as a catalyst for deeper engagement with biblical truths.

Ultimately, the Christian life involves a balance between emotions and intellect, faith and experience, with believers called to discern God’s will and rely on His guidance in all things. As Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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