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What Luther Says

Dark Night Of The Soul: Why It's Dangerous To Define Your Faith By How You Feel

How many times have we heard other Christians say it?

"I feel like I'm on fire for God lately! I feel like the Lord wants me to do this! I feel the presence of God here in this place! I feel God has burdened my heart with this! I feel God leading me to tell you this! I feel good about my life, which must mean that God approves of it and is blessing me for it! I feel, I feel, I feel..."

Of course, a believer's desire to want to express in words how the Lord and Savior of their very soul makes them feel is not necessarily a "bad" thing, but so often the language takes a turn and it starts to become all about those FEELINGS rather than remaining Christ-centered and cross-focused.

Listen to them long enough and you'll start to think that the Christian life is supposed to be all about feelings too (or at least fueled by feelings) and, if it's not, then maybe there's something wrong with you; maybe you're not really a Christian (like they are) like you think you are after all!

Certainly, this presents us with a problem since a person's feelings are always subjective and dependent upon one's own unique circumstances in life not to mention their own unique personality.

That doesn't stop millions of Christians from acting and speaking this way though and that's a real shame for them and for those who want to be like them.

This isn't going to be a piece on the "pros" and "cons" of emotion and feelings in the Christian's life, but is simply going to be a brief commentary on the very real spiritual danger involved in putting so much faith and trust in our day-to-day, moment-by-moment feelings as though they're some kind of "communication device" used by God to get our attention and speak to us.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but God has only promised to speak to use through His Word and Sacraments and that's it.

Many of you are probably already familiar with this classic lecture by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, but for others (like me) who are still in the early stages of your journey from false teaching to a much more faithful confession of "the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people" (Jude 1:3) like the one offered by the Lutheran church, this will be a great comfort to you.

For others, like those of you who are "moved" by the popular, shallow, trendy (and un-Biblical) beliefs, teachings, and confessions all the time (like those espoused by the new film "War Room"), I pray this will be a blessing to you as well.

In this lecture given at Faith Lutheran Church on November 1, 2013 during their monthly event, "Men’s Movie Night," Dr. Rosenbladt tackled the emotional struggles the Christian believer experiences in his faith. What is the condition of my faith when I am not feeling particularly faithful -- or not feeling faithful at all? Some days I feel really solid, but others I just don’t feel like I can believe I’m saved at all. I never seem to stop sinning, no matter how strong my faith feels! What then? What is the status of my salvation at these times? Am I completely lost? I’m so tired of trying to get back to feeling solid in my faith again and living the way Scripture says I should and failing over and over, I just don’t know if I can do it anymore. Or maybe there is something greater about the Christian faith than our day-to-day feelings? Once again, the answer can seem so simple that it’s almost unbelievable. Almost. It can’t be that simple. Or can it? One of the great blessings of having faith in a God Who never changes is that His Word never changes either. Let Dr. Rosenbladt return you to that unchanging Word from the Lutheran perspective and take comfort as he helps us re-focus on that unchanging Object of our Christian faith that is Christ in the dark night of the soul. 
[AUDIO: 1517 The Legacy Project]

That's definitely one you'll want to bookmark, download to your mobile device, share with others, and just listen to from time-to-time when you need to be reminded of Who you belong to.

You'll especially want to hang on to that one for the times when you are made to feel as though Christianity is about "YOU For Christ!" as opposed to "CHRIST For You!" instead.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, trust in Christ Jesus and His promises FOR YOU given to us in His Word and Sacraments, and don't trust in your own feelings that can change on a dime.

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm experiencing and/or studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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