1999-10-11 - Beyond Feeling
Ephesians 4:19, "and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness."
If you smoke Kools, Carltons, or Lucky Strikes, the makers of these fire sticks have something to tell you. The message..., "We, the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., are in love with you." These words come from a male voice that answers the toll-free number listed on packages of Lucky Strike cigarettes. He goes on, "We're a giant corporation, and you make us feel like a little kitten. " The voice continues, as soft piano music swells into a crescendo. "Thank you, lover."
I'm all for having feelings. I often feel like I have them. I encourage everyone to have feelings. However, what scares me is when someone reaches the point I am calling "Beyond Feeling." In the above passage, Paul speaks of those who, "having become callous," engage the flesh. Another way of putting it might be, "having lost all valid feelings."
There are many types of feelings. Some we should have and are pleasing to God, while others are straight from the pit. Romans 1:18-32 is clear about how God views those feelings and actions that are displeasing to Him. Feelings from the pit are unbecoming a child of God. "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)
To avoid a digression, let me refresh you for a moment on our topic, Beyond Feeling. Feelings can be identified and acknowledged, but what about lack of feeling? Being more specific, I mean those areas of our lives that are displeasing to God--those areas that, since indulgence has become common a practice, we no longer feel the sadness of our conduct and thoughts. These are practices to which our consciences have become seared, and affinities that once bothered us, now fail to even cause a moment of regret.
If there is an area of your life in which you have reached the "beyond feeling" point, and you are a child of God, you know exactly what I am speaking about. You don't feel the same way you used to about that sin. In the past, the dread of God's wrath bothered you, knowing that, "if we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." (1 John 1:6) But now you cover over it, compartmentalize it, and try to function as if all was well. If this is you, then you have reached the point I speak of, "beyond feeling."
If there is a dagger in your soul, a besetting sin that holds you down and appears to function like a fatal disease, terminal to your usefulness to God in this world, despair no longer. The healing cure for your illness was discovered on the cross of Calvary. The cure is the shed blood of Christ. "Surely our sickness He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried …" (Isaiah 53:3)
There may be a sin which may be your "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7). You will have to be ever-watchful against that sin, even after long periods of victory over it. But there is no reason that the blood of Christ cannot cleanse anyone from any besetting sin. Confessing, repenting, and trusting in Christ for successful conquest over any sin is the privilege of the Christian. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) May God give us grace and strength to trust and rest in His promises of forgiveness and tender mercy.
Soli Deo Gloria,