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If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself — Saint Augustine

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The Spirit of God or an Emotional Release? Judge Carefully

the spirit of god

The Spirit of God is what the Christian is supposed to be guided by. But how do we know exactly when we are experiencing His presence?

I love listening to live music. Back in my early 20’s before I made Christ the center of my life, I and a group of friends of mine used to get together and go to concerts performed by various musical artists. I remember going to a Prince concert at the Long Beach arena one Saturday night.

Just because you have a good feeling, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s because of the presence of the Spirit of God. And just because you don’t feel anything doesn’t mean that God isn’t present. The Spirit of God is with us 24/7/365 whether we feel Him or not.

In terms of showmanship, Prince is probably right at the top of the list. He could work a crowd into frenzy in no time. His command of the stage was amazing. He brought many of the women in the crowd to tears with some of his ballads. His performance could be felt emotionally by everyone in the arena that night.

3 Years Later…

I gave my life to the Lord in August, 1983. I had been reading the bible for some time, but my understanding was quite limited. The first thing I wanted to do after receiving Christ was start attending church. I found a great church and eagerly started attending Sunday service.

I remember standing in church listening to the praise and worship band playing and the choir singing in unison. I observed the congregation worshiping the Lord with hands lifted up. As the praise in the sanctuary reached a fever pitch I began to experience the same emotional feelings I had experienced at the Prince concert 3 years before.

I became lost in emotion not knowing what to make of what I was feeling. After the service, I kept hearing people say how they could feel the Spirit of God moving in the service. Even though I was a new Christian, something told me that the Spirit of God definitely wasn’t involved in what I was feeling at the Prince concert, but yet the same emotions that came to the surface while watching Prince were present in church.

I left the service that afternoon as one extremely confused babe in Christ. It wasn’t until many years later I learned that the Spirit of God is not a feeling, but a person living on the inside of me.

The Spirit of God is with us always

There are some who claim to “feel” God’s presence. To this day I have no clue what that means. Does it mean that when you can’t feel His presence that He isn’t here? No, that can’t be true.

My wife teases me constantly. She calls me “sappy” because I tear up at movies. I identify with people. I tend to feel their pain and their disappointment. It’s been said that laughing is contagious. Well in my case, crying is contagious too!

These emotional releases are normal and natural. We are emotional beings. Where we need to be careful is when we equate an emotional release to the Spirit of God being present. God is present all the time, whether you feel Him or not. When you’re feeling at your worst, the Spirit of God is present. The only evidence we need to prove that He is constantly present with us is Matthew 28:20.

As I look back now to the day I made Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord emotionally speaking, I didn’t “feel” anything spectacular or mind blowing. And because I didn’t feel anything, the enemy played tic-tac-toe with my mind, telling me that I wasn’t really a Christian at all and that I didn’t pray the prayer of Salvation right, therefore “it didn’t work”.

I’m writing this article to encourage those who may not emotionally feel a certain way when those around you claim to feel God’s presence. Please understand that God can cause you to feel His presence if He chooses to, but take the time to judge the Spirit. Judge the feelings and judge the emotions you’re experiencing.

Just because you have a good feeling, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s because of the presence of the Spirit of God. And just because you don’t feel anything doesn’t mean that God isn’t present. The Spirit of God is with us 24/7/365 whether we feel Him or not. We have His Word on it.

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