Faith is NOT a Feeling

There is a quote from St. Augustine that has been bugging me for two days now. It is a quote from the Confessions of Saint Augustine: “I sought you, not according to the understanding of the mind, in which You were pleased that I should surpass beasts, but according to the sense of the flesh.” It has taken me a considerable amount of time to wrap my head around this one. Basically, what St. Augustine is saying is that he was pursuing a relationship with God based solely on the “flesh”. His whole purpose in pursing faith and religion was surrounded by what made him feel good. He quickly realized as he aged that pursing a “feel-good” faith is not what God ultimately wants for us and that this kind of faith will not lead to any sort of long-term satisfaction. St. Augustine realized that he needed to understand God in the mind in order to have a lasting sense of deep satisfaction in his faith.

Let me use an analogy to try to explain this. Take a young couple. In the early stages of their courtship, when they first start dating, their relationship is based primarily on their feelings. The young man and young woman are attracted to each other because they make each other feel good. After a period of time the good feelings fade, and the young couple has a decision to make. They can break the relationship off, they can continue to try to find those “feelings”, or they can take their relationship to the next level. Unfortunately, many marriages are based on continuing to pursue those feelings and that is a major reason why the divorce rate is so high. You see, no relationship can be based solely on feelings. The couple needs to get to know each other. They need to take it to the next level by connecting intellectually. It is through this dialogue that they enter into a deeper level of their relationship and develop a deeper, more meaningful love for each other.

What happens many times with our faith is that we never get past the “courtship” phase in our relationship with the Lord. We either break off the relationship after the good feelings fade or we keep pursing more “good feelings”. Our relationship with the Lord will ultimately end up in a broken “divorce” if feelings is the main goal of our faith. We will not find a lasting satisfaction. We need to take our faith to the next level. We need to dig deeper intellectually. We need to try to not only know the precepts of our faith, but understand them. I find over and over again that the more I understand my faith on an intellectual level, the more intimately I feel the love of Christ at work in my life. It is the only way any relationship will work. It is the only way that we can achieve true and lasting satisfaction in our faith.

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 7:46 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. you were so wasted in the finacial services sector.

    I've read down to here from 8/4 and God, who loves you best, sent you to serve, so your relationship with him both could bloom and be a guiding light for others


  2. yes, I was wasted in financial services, AND in retail before that. It's interesting where God's plan, if your open to it, leads you. I couldn't be happier doing what I'm do!

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