Even Demons Believe, Chapter Eighteen

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18. Feelings

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Our first concern should not be with what we will feel. But what will God feel? Will He be well pleased with us as He was with His only begotten Son? Oven people ask, “What should I expect to feel aver I am baptized?” First and most importantly, baptism is not about feelings—it is about faith. Feelings come and go like waves tossing upon the seas, colliding upon each other. What we feel at one moment passes away in the next. Continue to sail the course of faith, ignoring the waves, and God will ensure you arrive safely at the shores of heaven.

God did, however, create us as different emotional beings, and what individuals experience at baptism will vary. While no one can speak completely for the will of God, looking to Jesus can help us catch a glimpse of what to expect.

In Acts 5:32 we saw that God only gives the Holy Spirit to those who “obey Him,” so if you were baptized for the correct reasons you will sense God’s pleasure with you in Christ. You will sense by faith that God poured forth His love upon you through Jesus. Remember by faith we are saved, so expect much mercy from God and you will sense His love. Do not measure your feelings by what others have felt. God will come to you in the loving way He has chosen for you. God’s love is very personal and is granted to each person in His timing and way. Rest in faith that God loves you and is well pleased as you seek to fullfil all righteousness.

  • As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “his is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

Besides feeling wet, you may experience the immediate joy and lifting of the burden of guilt. Just as Jesus was full of joy at the sight of seeing the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove and hearing His Father’s voice, so too a proper measure of God’s love will be sensed by all who come to Him with an honest faith. Remember, one of the meanings of baptism is a pledge of a good conscience toward God. As you pick up your cross and do the will of God each day, you will grow sensitive and convicted of sin and learn to quickly repent. Therefore you can expect many emotions and different feelings as you follow the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led Jesus into the desert to face confrontation by Satan right after His baptism. You, as a child of God, should expect a taste of the same experiences. For this reason God said to consider the rock from which you were cut (Isaiah 51:1).

  • Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)

Likewise, the Holy Spirit will lead you into the desert to face the attacks of the Evil One. Water baptism is not the finish line, but the starting line for the race of faith and new life. Out in the desert, with all of its discomforts, trials, and fears, the Spirit will lead you. God led the Israelites into the desert after their baptism, and in the desert we begin the fight of faith. God will seek to make you into the image of Jesus and so you can also expect to face the desert and then the crucifixion. Remember that the Bible compares the baptism of Jesus to fire and it far exceeds the baptism of John. Just think for a moment about the message John preached! You will be immersed with the Holy Spirit and fire. Most reject this refreshing water and cleansing fire that comes so powerfully against sin and instead turn to a worldly, religious baptism with no real power.

  • John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3:16)

Since this is a Christian’s lot, don’t expect your feelings of joy to resemble the world or what you are used to. You will become a new creation with a new understanding and sensations of joy never experienced before. You will learn true sorrow and true joy. Your joy, however, will not be like the world’s so do not expect to be filled with over-flowing amounts of happy sensations. Those who seek such things fall prey to Satan’s schemes and end up idolizing emotions. The joy in Jesus is “inexpressible.” In other words, it is unlike the world in every way because it is a “glorious joy.” Flesh cannot express or understand the joy found in Jesus, it is beyond the scope of human sorrow or happiness.

  • Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. (1 Peter 1:8)

Since the joy and peace Jesus gives does not resemble the world’s, do not look for it in the way of the world or think that you will understand at first the true joy of Jesus (John 14:27). No tears of joy or sensations of excitement can possibly express the joy God desires to place in our hearts. It is a joy beyond our own hearts, for the emotions change almost with each beat.

  • For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20b)

Those baptized correctly have been buried and raised new creations through Christ. The born again individuals have fresh kinds of emotions that only the Holy Spirit can work. Like a new born baby, there is much to learn about what to feel in the Lord. They will experience days of rich emotional praise, ones of quiet silence, and days of sorrow and seriousness. The important thing is to prepare to persevere past the emotions. No matter what emotions fill your heart, your faith must rise above them all.

  • If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. (Isaiah 7:9b)

Truths To Ponder, Beliefs To Examine

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

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