October 31, 2023 | Martin Luther – Day 44

“We must not judge by what we feel or by what we see before us. The Word must be followed, and we must firmly hold that these truths are to be believed, not experienced; for to believe is not to experience.”

Martin Luther



Martin Luther was not saying here that something believed cannot also be experienced. Rather, he was saying that faith is to precede experience. He was saying that the Word of God must be believed before the true experience of God can be felt, even, as Luther said, when we feel and experience things entirely different than the world.


So much of worship today is built on feelings. We try to make the songs we sing more emotional, the sermons we hear more positive and the prayers we hear more expressive in the hopes that we’ll “feel” the Spirit more clearly. In the end, too many churches pass on a shallow imitation of what God is calling us to.


Songs, sermons and prayers not based on a belief in God’s Word serve as only experiences, not relationship. When calamity hits, feelings serve only so well. To survive we are called to place our faith in something greater than feelings, God’s wisdom.


God speaks through Paul to the Romans when He says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Our Lord did not want us to be governed by feeling but by truth. He has given us His Word so that we might find that renewal. He has given us an intellect so that we might find in His Word the guidance to do what is good, acceptable and perfect.


God says, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Even in Paul’s time, the Word was being replaced by empty philosophy and elemental spirits. If we are to escape the same fate, we must arm ourselves with God’s Word to guide us to the joy that can only be found in knowing Christ.


Today, renew your commitment to the Word of God and make it an every day read.


Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us enough to give us the Words that bring life. Guard us from getting caught up in emotion and help us to find our joy only in you. Amen.