If I paid you $50 for each hour you read/studied the Bible, how many of you would be reading the Bible ALL DAY LONG?
We treat His Word and the Truth of God as if it were worth less than money, or physical treasure. We need to get past this material look on life, that material gain is more important than God’s Word. God’s Truth is worth more than anything you can ever get your hands upon, worth more than anything ever made or will be made in this world.
Today I want to stress something on the next phase of our Christian walk, Getting past the tingle.
Many of us have felt a tingle or the hairs rise up on our arms as we worship God in service or during prayer time. Some have also felt it at a retreat or conference. Of course we can also feel it for other non-spiritual reasons, but I want to focus on times when this happens during spiritual times.
What is the tingle? A touch from God, overwhelming awe or basically a physical reaction to a spiritual experience. Some people would simply call it a “touch from God”.
Think about a time when you were on a spiritual high, when was it, what did it feel like, how long did that tingle last? Most often it only lasts a few moments but no matter how long it has happened or how many times you have experienced it, you always remember that “touch from God.”
However, there are dangers in this tingle feeling. Well for one, it might just be man-made or self created. Not all emotions we feel are God’s Spirit, at times we can be experiencing other emotions. Sometimes I get a tingle feeling when I am giving someone praise for a job well done, or hearing someone tell an awe inspiring story. Sometimes we may feel it during a scary movie or a time when we are home all alone and our nervousness gets the best of us.
Another danger of this tingle is that we often use it to judge if a person or church is preaching the Word of God. We have a tendency to follow other people because of how they make us feel. Some people have traveled for months or years following preachers and speakers because of the tingle and emotional feelings they feel. One way to refer to this is calling it “Itching ears.” (2 Timothy 4:3) “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
Also, the devil can use it against us, we read, (Jn 10:10) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” and are told to (1 Peter 5:8) “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This is because he disguises himself and his tricks: (2 Cor 11:13-15) “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” So we have to be very careful what and who we follow. Not everything is a Word from the Lord and not everyone who says they are of God, really are of God.
One of the worst things about letting our emotions drive us is that we get “high” on the feeling and go after that high only; constantly searching for that excitement or that tingle all over again. Some people like to feel a rush, something exciting, and they want that same feeling over and over again. It’s why people get high and addicted to drugs. Relationships and a spiritual walk built on these types of feelings alone are not stable at all because if the person stops getting that feeling they either blame the church, the pastor or themselves (I just can’t feel God) and leave the church altogether.
We have to get past that lie. You will not always feel emotional tingles at church or in worship, that is not the goal. But the devil wants to get you caught up in desiring that for yourself and will try and get you stuck and blame yourself for not feeling spiritual all of the sudden. Being let down, so you think, will cause you to get confused about doctrine as those in Eph 4: 14 “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” You are opened to false doctrine and confusion when you are just searching for the “buzz.”
So how do we get past it? We have to have our foundation in God and in His Word and not emotions or feelings. (Ep 6:10-11) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (1 Pet 5:9) “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
So you cannot let your emotions drive you. Emotions will get you pregnant, get you to go out and get drunk or pay for sex, make you cut yourself, make you stay up all hours of the night looking at porn and avoid healthy relationships and isolate yourself. Emotions should never be the deciding factor to guide the direction of your life or to help you decide between choices. Our foundation is the Lord, He is our Rock. Even when we don’t want Him to be, He is still our Rock, even when we feel we are alone, He is our Rock, even when we know we don’t deserve it, He is still our Rock. He will never give up on you, always in your corner rooting for you, at every game, every competition, win or lose.
We have to be able to stand firm in God on a foundation built on Him and not on emotions. (Duet 32:31) “For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.” Even those who attack you, laugh at you, joke on you, will concede that there is no rock like our Rock! (Psalm 18:30) “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (Read that whole Psalm 18 when you have time!)
It is important to know who you are and Whose you are. You will have conflict, you will have struggle. You’ve got to train and be ready. As you mature in Christ and grow in your relationship with Him, the rubber meets road so to speak. Friction happens and you have got to have a foundation and not emotions in order to stand strong. (John 15: 20) “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” and (Matt 24:9-14) “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
You have to be able to stand up against the flow of the world around you. (2 Tim 2: 15) “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (Rom 12:2) “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Eph 5:6) “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” And finally, (2 Cor 6:14-17) “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
One Final thought: Christian ministry in a home church or massive church, online or on tv is not a waiting room, a holding cell, or a babysitting service so adults can have their service.
If you think that, tell me now, I’ll go home, there’s no point being here then. I’m trying to show you how to turn darkness into light, train you up as soldiers of Christ, mighty men and women of faith. What I am doing here online is an investment into the lives of the Church (the Body of Christ) and the life of the Church. I pray this is a blessing to you as it has been to me to share from my heart.