I would like to propose here that faith, hope, love and joy are choices, attitudes really, which like garments or glasses, you ‘put on’. Yes, there are corresponding emotions for each of these choices, but they are in reality just the evidence of the condition of one’s heart or spirit. Most of us were taught that our feelings can’t be trusted but I suggest that they can be and we can even use them to assess and troubleshoot our current spiritual condition. The most important part to remember is what you are trusting them for.
The emotions within each of us can be thought of as waves created by the wake of our boat, which is our spirit, and the wind of the Holy Spirit’s movements. With practice we can glean information from their effects such as areas we may need God’s intervention in or where His Spirit is leading us to grow.
On their own however, emotions, like the waves, can drive our boat forward but like a boat with no captain, it is without purpose or destination. Without God at the helm, we are the captain of this boat and are the ones accountable to God for where it goes and there will be no blaming the waves for it. To sail life without God’s Spirit at our helm is like sailing alone in an ocean with no stars to steer by and no harbor to anchor in.
Thankfully, faith, hope, love and joy are not just emotions. They are attitudes that evince our ongoing choice to be confident in, dependent upon, devoted and grateful to God. Simply put, these attitudes are a choice to be in relationship with our Creator.
Like garments, these are attitudes we walk in, but they are also lenses we are to look at life through. A proper spiritual perspective requires all the lenses to be looked through simultaneously. Remove any one lens and the view of Jesus, the Truth, is imperfect and incomplete. That is why it is essential we start each day intentionally trusting in, depending on, honoring and thanking God in our heart and through our choices. This is the believer’s walk of faith in a nutshell.
I understand that this may seem difficult, or even impossible to do right now and believe me I’ve been there, but the start of every good habit is tough at first. It always gets easier the more you do it. Remember too, if you have called on God for His mercy then take heart, because He is working in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure and He is faithful to complete this good work, this transformation, He began in you! And if you have never called on Him, and don’t know Him, you can also take heart! He can and will heal you as well, if you trust Him and ask Him to.
I have never known such love, joy or peace that I have found in my relationship with God anywhere or in anyone else. So, if you are reading this, just know it is not too late to have this miracle in your life too!
“So now faith, hope, and love these three remain; but the greatest of these is love.”