ESV - 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
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While I have never heard the saying that the Bible says nothing about feelings, it is true that joy is not based in feeling (though it brings feeling). The joy of our salvation is our hope of eternity with Christ. This certainly does bring with it feelings of expectation, eagerness, and happiness. Joy is not based in changing circumstance or feeling, however. Similarly, our closeness with God is not determined by feelings, though our closeness with God will inevitably bring about feelings and life change. This may seem abstract, but it is crucial. Those who believe their current feelings determine how closely they are walking with God ("That church camp was amazing! I'm really on fire for God now!) or believe their feelings determine how much God approves of their current direction ("I just feel a peace I've never felt before, this guy/girl must be the one God made for me") or use their feelings to determine how best to worship/serve God ("I feel this is right, so it must be right") have it backwards. Rather, as we follow on God's paths and repent when falling, then the more we are conformed to Christ. We may feel very down and oppressed at times - this does not mean we are not following God, but rather that we are going through a trial that we should hand over to God as we endure through it. Jesus actually promised us that we will experience suffering and persecution. (Matt 10:46, John 16:33, John 15:20, Acts 14:22, II Tim 3:12, 1 Pet 4:12, etc). The marker of the right path is not "how wonderful do I feel", but whether God is guiding you down it. [Psalm 23] Feelings will flow from this walk with God, but there is a very mindful component, such as Paul "-learning- to be content" or Jame's admonition to "-consider- it pure joy when you fall into various trials". Feelings in this manner originate from our hope in God and God's grace, not in the typical human manner of originating from inside ourselves or from outside circumstance. Likewise, God calls us to use discernment in life situations, and to base our decisions on his commands and guidance (With priority on the command to love everyone, even enemies, with a sacrificial love)! Unfortunately, many discard the profitable wisdom contained in the word, or even the wisdom gained by praying, to base their choices in feelings or sensations. It is not that the spirit never prompts (he often does) but if we go out based on feelings without testing them we are often deceived. Eve saw that the fruit was pleasing, so she felt like she was justified in eating it, even though God said no. [Examples of this: "I just feel like God is leading me elsewhere" (He might be, but motives need examined, and the decision still needs tested, especially if you 'felt' God was calling you where you are, and you only have this new sensation now that things have gotten difficult). "Do you feel God is calling you to do this?" (Someone from the outside prioritizing feeling/sensation over asking the Biblical motives for a decision) "I just feel God is in this". (That's great, but IS God in it? Feeling God is in something does not justify poor decision making or sin). "Wow this worship music really makes me feel close to God!" (Worship is a lot more than music, it is serving and adoring God because He is worthy. We must draw near to the Fatherthrough Christ to worship - we do not draw close -by- worshiping, that's Christ's role as High Priest, not our own activity). "I feel God wants me to date you" and "Sorry, but I feel God is calling us in different directions". (Not to be too glib here, but please don't blame God for hormonal fluctuations. God doesn't play the dating game with people. If he brings two people together, it's for their lives, and God is not going to contradict the principals of his word like "Honor your parents" or "Do not arouse or waken love until it so desires" or "Love bears all things").] Enjoy the peace and joy God brings, but don't think joy brings God.
I do agree with Jennifer and Vin I would also like to point out that there is a difference in feelings and fruit. In this particular case here is the Hebrew definition; sasown OT:8342 sasown (saw-sone'); or sason (saw-sone'); from OT:7797; cheerfulness; specifically, welcome: It would appear here that it is a feeling, Jesus felt despair perhaps when He asked the Father to take the cup from Him, He also wept which comes from a feeling. However New Testament Christians should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and Joy is one of them. We are people and from time to time others can see our feelings and there is nothing that can be done about it since God created us that way. Some would say we need to always exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and not show feelings though that cannot be found in scripture. Scripture does however point out what the fruit of the Spirit is and we know that fruit is produced from a healthy plant. God gave us feelings and we have the freedom to exhibit them. The thing one must be cautioned with is we do not want to hurt ourselves or others because of our feelings, we must control our flesh as much as we can. Anger for instance is a feeling and it is okay to be angry but it is not okay to hurt others when we are angry. Those people who communicate that we should not have feelings have probably not read there own bible and are just regurgitating what someone else said. Jesus wept and we too can weep and cry, Jesus got angry and we too can be angry. None of us know it all and none of us are perfect. Let's read our bibles and let the Holy Spirit reveal to us what we can and cannot do since He is our teacher, leader, guide etc. :)
...I would certainly dispute the notion that the Bible says nothing about feelings. Not only does David speak of great feelings with the joy of salvation in Psalm 51--then we see in Psalm 100 that the gathering of believers is to celebrate with great and open expression the love, joy and happiness that is found within a life dedicated to God... "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands." (Psalm 100) Many other verses talk of "feelings." (Deuteronomy 16:15), (Nehemiah 8:10), (Esther 8:17), (Ecclesiastes 9:7), (Isaiah 9:3), (1 Samuel 18:6), (Luke 15:7), (John 16:21), (Philippians 1:3-5), (Philemon 1:7) (Proverbs 10:28), (Romans 15:13), (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20), (1 Peter 1:8-9), (2 John 1:12) We've all known that type of Christian who walks around with a long face... A woe is me attitude... A hope of dying quite soon in order to get to heaven... Complete and total negativity that simply does not sell the reality that we have a God who wishes you to accept the joy and happiness of salvation--and take that joy and happiness home to your families; that they might revel in the beauty that does exist on this Earth. Only from that attitude can we actually bring others to Jesus! What is the old saying? Sugar attracts more flies than vinegar? Of course this world abounds with pain, horrible situations, unhappiness of all sorts. Is it possible to work for the betterment of humanity by adopting the sorrowful attitude that some adopt? I hardly think so. Rejoice in the love of Jesus!
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