When some people become saved they are instantly given different feelings. For some different feelings come gradually. For some there may be no noticeably different feelings at all. We must understand that our feelings can deceive us. Our feelings MUST be based on facts. When I am sick it is a fact. Sickness usually makes me feel bad. When I am healthy, that too is a fact. Health usually makes me feel good. There are exceptions. With some illnesses we have no symptoms. We can feel good and yet be desperately sick. We can have symptoms of non-existent illnesses. Some people have a great tolerance for pain while others have none. When we become children of God we are His children for the rest of our lives and for eternity. It is important that we understand that we will not always feel like children of God. We will not all have the same feelings or have them with the same intensity.
Here are some thoughts that can help us enjoy correct feelings and understand incorrect ones. The Holy Spirit will always give us correct feelings. Our flesh will NOT always give us correct feelings. It can be very helpful to us to learn to enjoy the feelings the Holy Spirit gives us and mistrust the feelings our flesh gives us. Before we got saved all we had were the undependable feelings of the flesh. Then the Holy Spirit came along and made us feel lost (bad).
John 16:8: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
When we resisted the reproof of the Holy Spirit it was unbelief. Our feelings remained undependable. When we responded in faith to the reproof of the Holy Spirit we received Jesus. Jesus then made us into new creatures.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The new creatures are capable of having the correct feelings. At that point most of us had some better feelings even though we didn*t understand them. Even though we have become new creatures with new feelings we are in a lifelong conflict with our flesh. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit He gives us the correct feelings. When we are filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit these will be the results:
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
When we quench, grieve, neglect or fail to stir up the Spirit in us the good feelings He wants to give us will be absent or counterfeit and we permit the undependable counterfeit feelings of our flesh to influence us.
1 Thessalonians 5:19: Quench not the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:30: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
In salvation there are many realities that happen on God*s side of salvation that we cannot feel. But we can know that they have happened because God states clearly in the Bible that they have. And just knowing that they have happened can give us goose-bumps. These realities are things that define GOD*S new and different relationship with us. Blessedly, there are also many things that happen on our side of salvation that we CAN feel. These are realities that define OUR new and different relationship with God.
My friend and teacher, Horst Adler gave some clear definitions of these things. He called the things that we cannot feel about salvation: The non-experiential work of God and the things that we can feel about salvation The experiential work of God.
He listed some non-experiential works of God: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, redemption, sealing, adoption, regeneration, etc.
Those things are realities but we don*t feel them. For me the one that best illustrates a lack of feeling on our part is adoption.
Ephesians 1:5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
A toddler or an older child who has been adopted might understand what has been done for him and have feelings about it. But a baby too young to understand won*t feel any different after his adoption than he did before.
Brother Adler also listed some of the experiential works of God: Newness of life, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, singing, gratitude, repentance, etc.
We can have feelings along with those things.
Romans 5:5: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
John 15:11: These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 14:27: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Strong*s Concordance definition of grace: The divine influence upon the heart, including gratitude.
A majority of those who receive Christ in my hearing thank me (for sharing the gospel with them). Their new gratitude can appropriately be called a different feeling. Most also tell me directly or give me other clues that they feel different or better. Some don*t give me those clues for moments, days, weeks, months or even years after the fact. The ones who don*t give me evidence of different feelings are usually those who quickly become separated from me geographically.
An unbeliever should feel bad about himself and his sins but doesn*t. A Christian should feel bad about his sins but those feelings should be overshadowed and replaced as frequently as possible with wonderful truths and feelings about the Lord and what He has done on the Christian*s behalf.
We need to be very careful not to put good feelings about self above good feelings about the Lord. Many individuals and even entire churches put the emphasis on feeling good about themselves. Hedonism is defined as a life devoted to pleasure, or the philosophy that pleasure is the principle good in life. We must be careful to devote our lives to God and not to pleasure or good feelings. There is great spiritual danger in focusing more on the good feelings than on the source of them. Good feelings can replace God in the hearts and lives of men. That is idolatry.
I am thankful that the Lord has given me many good feelings along with my salvation. This statement is not scientifically provable but I believe it is true: Those that get the closest to the Lord will have the most faith in Him, will serve Him the most and will have the best feelings.
We MUST be certain that our feelings are based on Biblical truth.