Confusing times become more stressful—and more confusing!—when the response of people seems to throw more fuel on the fire. Frustration boils up into anger. Confusion gives way to fear. Uncertainty about what to believe or what to do becomes anxiety over what might be coming next.
You might think I’m describing current events in our country right now. But in times like these we need to remember that there have always been times like these. When I talk about frustration, anger, confusion, fear, uncertainty, and anxiety, I am actually thinking about events that took place over 2000 years ago.
Like when the residents of Ephesus became Christians and stopped buying idols of Artemis, a huge backlash broke out. “Soon the whole city was in an uproar. … The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there” (Acts 19:29-32).
Or when some Jews thought Paul had taken some non-Jews into the part of temple restricted to Jews only. “Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, shouting, ‘Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.’ (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.) The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple. … Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar…” (Acts 21:27-34).
There are three Fs at work here: feelings, facts, and faith.
Have you heard it said, “Feelings are not facts”? Feeling are a fact to the one experiencing those feelings, so feelings can indeed be facts: subjective facts that are factual to me.
Facts are not necessarily better than feelings because our facts might come from faulty sources. For example, Trophimos was with Paul, but Paul did not bring him into the restricted area.
Whether feelings or facts, we need faith in God’s sovereignty. We need to remember: God has a plan, He is in control, nothing takes Him by surprise, nothing derails His purpose, He is intimately aware of everything that is happening.
The Holy Spirit helps us evaluate both feelings and facts through the filter of truth found in God’s Word. Then the Spirit also gives us faith to stand firm despite the feelings and the facts.
The Holy Spirit not only helps us pray through these confusing times (Romans 8:27), but He helps us know what’s really behind the confusing times, as well as how we can communicate that truth to others (1 Corinthians 2:10, 13 AMP).
Probably my favorite promise (which I especially like in the Old English of the King James Version) is this: Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things (1 John 2:20).
So I want to encourage you again: Don’t stop at salvation—be baptized in the Holy Spirit and have that unction that will help you with all your feelings and all the facts that are thrown at you.
If you have missed any messages in this series on Pentecostal Christians, you can find the full list by clicking here.