Hebrews 4:12-13 – “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” NASU
2 Corinthians 10:12 – “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” NASU
There is a quote that I want to use here to go with the passages listed above to open the door to what I want to say: “We must always judge our experience by the Word of God. We must never make God’s Word conform to our experience. – – Tom Wells”
I had someone tell me one time that they trusted their experience more than anything and after further inquiry I found that to mean even the written Word of God. As one said, “Its better felt than telt….” (Not good grammar but makes the point). To them what they experienced was more valuable than even what God had to say about the matter. If the worship service was not so moving that people became highly energized and emotional we had not had church, and to them, we had just gone through the motions. (Although, sometimes we probably had and their basic premise was incorrect).
A very senior minister told me when I first began preaching that when he received Christ, he felt nothing but because he believed that “in his heart” he was truly repentant, and trusted the promise of God that he walked out of the church that night fully confident that he was saved – born again and a member of the family of God. He said that emotion and experience came about a week later through several incidences and he noticed a loss of desire for certain things and an aversion for certain propensities he had previously held. His opinion was the same as Mr. Wells you cannot judge your experience by anything other than the Word of God. You dare not make the Word of God conform to what you feel, experience, or think but adjust your life to fit the Word.
Please understand, I am emotional and although I made a vow early in life that I would “never cry again” out of anger and resentment towards something that happened to me, I have since seen that vow’s power broken and I can weep before the Lord. That was not always true, but even though weeping did not come I would be deeply moved in my heart and would rest in the peace and confidence that I could trust what God said and not depend on what I experienced or felt. I have made a decision to believe that whatever God says is not only true but I will believe it, stand on it, and stake my life to it no matter how I feel.
I counseled a man years ago who was extremely angry but in complete denial as to his anger. His statement was, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” I casually asked if the redness of his face, the evidence of blood veins popping out on his neck, shaking hands, and quivering voice might indicate that he was, in fact, angry, he refused to acknowledge it. I further reminded him that the Bible teaches that we are not to let the sun go down on our wrath and that God declared that vengeance was His and not up to us to retaliate.
He continued to maintain that he was not angry and revenge would leave a sweet taste in his mouth and warmness in his heart that would be most pleasant. He was willing to ignore the Word of God to satisfy his experience. That is a most dangerous place to live and an address where I choose not to reside.
My experience, my actions, and my attitudes all must align themselves with God’s Word to have validity and acceptability. For the person, that is reading this and thinking, “Well it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” I say, “Not in this case!” When you already know better you bring your life into conformity with God’s Word you do not attempt to make God’s Word conform to your desires. Let’s allow God’s Word to be the standard by which our lives, experiences, attitudes, and actions are judged and in so doing we will walk in a Peace that is beyond human comprehension because we will walk in His Forgiveness & Mercy all the days of our lives!
May God bless you as you come to the conclusion of your work week and enter your weekend! May your time of rest be refreshing and your peace supreme!