About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
- Luke 9:28-43
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
- Luke 15:8-10
“But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.”
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Most Christians may wonder, on rare occasions, if they are really saved or not, if only for a moment. For those who are saved, that thought is inserted by an evil spirit to: 1. Defeat us by questioning our faith, 2. Provide doubt, and thus rob us with some of our Joy, 3. Mute us from speaking out about Jesus, since that part of our life may not be real. And I could go on.
When do we get that thought? I wrote recently about how the evil spirits among us know what matters in our lives. And they love making gut punches.
But that does not fully answer the question. Most of us have that moment when we know the day we accepted Jesus, down to the hour for many. We remember that moment when the angels in heaven rejoiced. Were there bells ringing, angels singing, fireworks? It felt good. It felt better than anything else that could be felt here on earth.
And that is where the problem lies. Advance five months, five years, fifty years. Do you feel that burst of Joy that is equal to that first moment? Maybe one in a hundred would answer “Yes,” but most of us do not feel that much Joy. It is still there. Jesus does not leave us nor does He forsake us, but that once in a lifetime fireworks within our hearts is a once in a lifetime feeling, not continuous.
Just think of the first Scripture above. Not all the disciples went on to the Mount of Transfiguration, but all the disciples received a bitter rebuke from Jesus.
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” (Luke 9:41)
For Peter, James, and John, did they feel the same then that they had felt on the Mount? I doubt it.
Thus, when the feeling is gone (wow, does that not sound like a Country/Western song…), we might be susceptible to the occasional voice that says we were tricked into this thing.
Odd, when I have had that feeling of doubt, I never lose my faith in God. Often, I look internally at my life. Do I have sin that needs to be cast away? Have I failed in performing the duties God has laid before me? I double down, as the saying goes.
But then, I look back to when I had that feeling, now 53 years ago plus a few months. How did I know Jesus came into my heart? The Holy Spirit started providing understanding of the Scriptures that I had read since I could read. And that has never left me.
As I have often misquoted Beth Moore on this. Here I will try to quote her again: If you no longer feel the warmth of God’s love, you have stepped away from the fire. No quotes, because that is probably a paraphrase.
What does C. S. Lewis state above? God’s love does not change, regardless of our circumstances. God loved us when we were sinners, or He would have never sent the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin. God loved us when we repented of our sin. God loved us when we stumbled and fell. He still loves us with the same love He had when we had not yet been formed in the womb.
God is, as Lewis states, relentless in His love, regardless of what it costs us. And what did it cost Him? Jesus died on the cross carrying our sins with Him.
So, when those thoughts enter your mind, know that God loves you. Examine yourself to see if sin is trying to take control. And double down in loving God.
As I wrote this, I had an earworm going through my mind. It was written by Don S. Reid, one of the Statler Brothers. It is about how a loving husband will love his wife to the end and even beyond the end. It could easily be, with only a few words changed, a song of how we love Jesus. I’ll Go to my Grave Loving You.
Now if that thought does not bring back a bit of that feeling from long ago …
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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