Transforming the Feelings

To follow up our conversation yesterday about how spiritual formation in Christ affects our feelings, I thought I’d post a number of quotes and thoughts from wise authors about our feelings/affections. Hopefully these spur some deeper reflection. Feel free to offer your comments…

No one can succeed in mastering feelings in his or her life who tries to simply take them head-on and resist or redirect them by “willpower” in the moment of choice… Those who let God be God get off the conveyer belt of emotion and desire when it first starts to move toward the buzz saw of sin. They do not wait until it is moving so fast they cannot get off of it. Their aim is not to avoid sin, but to avoid temptation – the inclination to sin.
– Dallas Willard

Love for God is the mark of the truly called person – all the time. Of course, our love for God has moments of intensity and moments of weakness – just like every other love relationship we have. But in those who are called, love for God is what defines them. It’s the abiding condition of our hearts – whether strong or weak. …Let me grasp for the kinds of words that I think will help us know if we love God. Loving God is desiring God himself beyond his gifts. Loving God is treasuring God himself beyond his gifts. Love for God is delighting in God himself beyond his gifts… Love for God is valuing God and prizing God and revering God and admiring God beyond his gifts. All these words are grasping for that essential response of the heart to the revelation of the glory of God, especially in Christ through the gospel. It is a glad reflex of the heart to all that God is for us in Christ.
– John Piper

Real worship is, among other things, a feeling about the Lord our God… If you do not know Him and worship Him, if you do not long to reside where He is, if you have never known wonder and ecstasy in your soul because of His crucifixion and resurrection, your claim of Christianity is unfounded. It cannot be related to the true Christian life and experience at all.
– AW Tozer

Though true grace has various degrees, and there are some that are but babes in Christ… yet everyone that has the power of godliness in his heart, has his inclinations and heart exercised towards God and divine things, with such strength and vigor that these holy exercises do prevail in him above all carnal or natural affections, and are effectual to overcome them: for every true disciple of Christ “loves him above father or mother, wife and children, brethren and sisters, houses and lands: yea, than his own life.”
– Jonathan Edwards

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
-John Donne

Leave a Reply