How Does Faith Interact with Feelings?
A relationship, be it with another human being or with a divine entity in any religion, entails feelings and responsibilities. Taking a responsibility often involves rational reasoning, but feelings, on the other hand, are not precisely manageable. This characteristic makes them a source of confusion for many Christians. This essay will discuss what Christian faith says about handling feelings and emotions based on the “Paul’s Longing to See Thessalonians” excerpt.
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People are highly emotional creatures, and sometimes the power of what they feel surpasses their internal sources. In Christianity, a feeling or an emotion are not sinful in their nature as long as they are not acted upon (Laynton, 2015). In Thessalonians 2:17-20, Paul shows a prime example of having an intense longing for reuniting with his fellow Christians in Thessalonica, from whom he is separated for an undefined period of time.
However, the grief of not having someone around does not crush him because his faith in Jesus Christ gives him much-needed solace and the certainty that God will take care of the situation. According to Clapper (2010), a person is capable of having fleeting feelings but trusting deeper emotions. Thus, the key to walking the fine line between experiencing an overwhelming feeling and succumbing to it is commitment.
When a person makes a decision to give his life to Jesus Christ through baptism with the Holy Spirit, his or her top priority is no longer to serve their human interests merely but to build a deep and intimate relationship with God. Among many other benefits that firm faith offers are the ability to manage feelings and distinguish between what is temporary and what is right. When Paul longs for Thessalonians’ companionship, he puts Christ in the middle of their relationship and thus, gives his experiences a meaning.
The role of the church in spreading and upholding faith varies greatly depending on the branch of Christianity. For instance, Catholicism capitalizes on the ritualism and the involvement in the church community, which constitutes orthodoxy, whereas Protestantism prioritizes spiritual commitment over formalities. This essay will discuss the importance of orthodoxy and orthopraxy in church and how the church can be amended to provide better guidance to foster congruence.
Admittedly, one should not dismiss the orthodoxal part of Christianity which gives a person’s convictions logical structure and the ideal. Orthopraxy is more of a practical commitment entailing making ethical choices and recreating the image of Christ in one’s life through every action. Moreover, what all branches of Christianity have in common is the encouragement of a righteous lifestyle both in and outside the church, which leads to the conclusion that the significance of orthopraxy surpasses that of orthodoxy. Yet, it is safe to say that in theology, theory and practice are inseparable, and the church should be the one to build a bridge between belief and conscious behavior.
The power of conviction would only go as far as the church succeeds in enhancing its members’ engagement. In recent years, the numerical data on church participation revealed a certain decline (Voas & Watt, 2014). It would be only logical to seek ways to amend church life in a way that would compel people to engage more. Casidy and Tsarenko (2014) found that among the perceived benefits of going to church, people named spiritual growth and social connections, which are individual and group advantages.
In the case of specified church, the pastor could find it useful to organize more events for people of all ages which would both emphasize the main aspects of Christian belief and be generally entertaining. As for other examples, one could think of tea parties with discussions or youth Bible study groups out in nature. Even such simple changes could be decisive factors for people who wish to make better decisions but do not know how to embark on practicing faith alone.
Every worshipper needs to take time to answer the question as to what makes a good Christian. While this question may seem simple at first, especially given that there is plenty of resources including the primary source – the Bible – to which anyone can refer, there might be more depth to living in Christ. Just like in any other religion, in Christianity, there is a certain duality of what the adherents believe and what they act upon, which can be vastly different. The church should bring together identity, mission, and theology through building a tight-knit community in which people could connect, take after those who display good Christian qualities, and simply have fun.
Casidy, R., & Tsarenko, Y. (2014). Perceived benefits and church participation: A comparative study among regular and irregular church goers. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 26(5), 761-776.
Clapper, G. S. (2010). The renewal of the heart is the mission of the church: Wesley’s heart religion in the twenty-first century. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Laynton, R. (2015). An easy to understand introduction to Christianity. Staffordshire, UK: Companion Guides.
Voas, D., & Watt, L. (2014). Numerical change in church attendance: National, local and individual factors – The church growth research programme report on strands 1 and 2. Essex, UK: University of Essex.