Feelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life

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He took pleasure in freely adopting his children into his family, apart from any virtue in them. Again, the pleasure is the emotion of joy and delight in doing his will, demonstrating his sovereign grace and seeing his grace at work in his people. God is indeed the blessed God 1 Tim.

He is the eternally joyful, authentically happy God, who overflows with delight in his own perfections as they are perfectly reflected in his Son and imperfectly and dimly reflected in his creatures. Just as God has joyful feelings, he also has emotions of grief, sadness, sorrow, and even pain. These emotions need to be qualified of course, but there is no need to relegate them to mere figures of speech.

We cannot miss the depth of feeling in these passages. The unrestrained depravity at the time of Noah grieved God:. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Even when his own people were on the rebellion treadmill, his love for them flowed over in a parental grief.

The father heart of God is unveiled repeatedly: "How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! Just so God appeals to his people through Paul: "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" Eph. There are also numerous texts where God expresses his grief and pain in terms of a husband whose heart has been broken by an unfaithful wife, for example, in Ezekiel "I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. As a pastor, I have seen the endless stream of tears and the trembling hands and have heard the quivering voice of a soul shattered into a million pieces because that one-flesh union has been violated.

Another person, an outsider, has been in that sacred place reserved by vow and covenant only for the spouse. It is a violent violation. It is a cruel act, which goes far beyond the anatomy of intercourse.

Feelings and Faith

It is crushing. God uses this very language to give us a picture into his heart. In these passages, God is grieved. He expresses sorrow, even pain. He comes to a point where he can no longer bear the misery of his people. He is grieved over his covenant people's rebellion. He is devastated by their infidelity. He is wounded as they give him a vote of no confidence in the wilderness. This language does not take away from God's sovereignty or immutability.

To interpret these emotional terms in such a way that detracts from or nullifies his sovereignty or foreknowledge is to violate the whole counsel of God.

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Nevertheless, to interpret these strong emotional words as figures of speech with no emotional reality is to drain them of their meaning and force. The God of the Bible knows what it is to sorrow and grieve. Anger management is in. Blow your cork at work and you will find yourself in a class designed to help people control their anger.

Although anger is a common and harmful sin, anger in and of itself is not sinful. In fact, our capacity to be angry is a reflection of the image of God in us. Unfortunately, we rarely know righteous anger. Thankfully, righteous anger is the only anger God knows. God demonstrates his righteous care for the underprivileged by becoming angry when they are oppressed: "You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless" Ex.

He does not hide his detestation for evildoers, liars, and the violent. Even as God loves justice, so he despises injustice, especially injustice done to the helpless of society: the widows, orphans, and unjustly divorced wives. There are certain sins for which God has a special hatred.

As a holy God he also has a perfect loathing of evildoers and those who are willfully ignorant and will not trust him. Although there is a biblical doctrine of God's universal love, it should not be too hard to understand that the God of perfection is a complex being who transcends our ability to comprehend.

That God can love and hate the same object at the same time is a reflection of his incomprehensibility and emotional complexity. Rather, God loves the sinner and is angry at the sinner when he sins.


Quick Review: Feelings and Faith

Feelings and Faith paints a biblically accurate picture of, as the Puritan pastors expressed it, 'holy emotions. This is an important book and I highly recommend it. With the heart of a pastor, Brain Borgman offers an emotional life line that will stabilize your heart and support your faith. Faith and Feelings needs to be in your personal library. I will return to it time and again-so will you! Are feelings an incredibly important part of your faith, giving you heart-felt ways to express love to God and others, or are they actually to be jettisoned from your faith, being perceived as something dangerous in your relationship to Christ?

In this immensely profitable book, Brian Borgman, a very sure-footed guide to this topic, biblically and precisely explains the concept of emotion and how it is to be integrated into one's walk with the Lord. I know of no other book quite like it. All at once, it is Scriptural, wise, clear, pastoral, transparent, and compelling. This is a great resource for instance, for a pastor who desires help in skillfully shepherding his sheep.

Even further, the principles in this work should prove to be of real, lasting value to any believer in Jesus who earnestly yearns to first grasp and then harness his or her own emotions within the context of a sensate culture that is quickly careening out of emotional control. For all who read this book, we should genuinely applaud Pastor Borgman's diligent efforts in now bringing us the most helpful volume available on the subject of Faith and Feelings. Emotion is one of the least understood topics in our Bible studies and churches and this is a strong contribution to the discussion.

I am thankful to have read Feelings and Faith and know others will also benefit from it. It has been a privilege to get to know Brian and his pastor's heart for God's people, which shines through clearly on these pages.

Authentic faith in the supreme, indomitable goodness of God in sending Jesus Christ as our substitute and redeemer necessarily transforms our feelings. The Holy Spirit awakens earnest love for others from a pure heart I Peter , joyful acceptance of loss Heb. Borgman clearly sets forth the foundational role of truth, unpacks a robust theology of Christian experience, and provides examples of how to mortify sinful emotions and cultivate godly ones.

I highly recommend this book. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Buy Online, Pick up in Store is currently unavailable, but this item may be available for in-store purchase. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview This practical theology of the emotions explores what the Bible teaches about our emotions and their relationship to our walk of faith. About the Author Brian S.

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Tozer We begin our biblical-theological foundation with the starting point of all true theology — God. Nichols defines God's emotional capacity: God's emotivity is His supreme capacity to act responsively and sensationally; to feel pure and principled affections of love and hate, joy and grief, pleasure and anger, and peace; in accord with His supreme, spiritual, and simple Being and impeccable virtue.

Living By Feelings vs Living By Faith

God Loves and Delights in His Son The emotions God has for his Son are experienced by us in small, reflective ways when we have children of our own. God Delights in Justice and Righteousness After the trial and execution of one of the most ruthless dictators of the modern world, I told my family, "Justice was done and we ought to give thanks.

God Rejoices in His People If we are listening, we constantly hear notes about how worthy we are, how we really are "all that" and a whole lot more. Listen to the language of love and passion welling up within God: For as a young man marries a young woman, "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.