My internet is down for the time being. I will respond when I am able to. 🙂
Emotions and feelings are good gifts God has given to us. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger and nervousness all have purposes in our lives and can be used for good. They help us know when there are problems and to be able to respond to our circumstances and to other people. They also can bring us and others great joy and blessing when we use them properly.
In our culture today, many of us build our entire lives upon our feelings. We make decisions based on “what will make me feel happy right now.”
Feelings are important. They can act as a compass and help us sometimes to know if we are headed in the right direction or not. They can be red flags to show us that we need to examine our feelings and to determine why we feel the way we do so that we can know ourselves, our hearts and make the best decisions. BUT…
Feelings alone are a very poor foundation upon which to make decisions.
Feelings are not infallible. They are not a source of absolute truth. It is possible to put our feelings above everything else in life. We may even, unconsciously, put our feelings above God in our hearts. We may decide that we have to do “everything” we possibly can to avoid being upset, sad, hurt, scared or unhappy – no matter what the cost. We may decide that we need to put our own current feelings of happiness on the throne of our lives, basing all of our choices upon “what will make me feel happy right now?”
- When we build our lives on feelings and emotions – we are building on sinking sand. When the storms come, decisions and lives that are built on feelings will collapse because they do not have a firm foundation.
- Jesus is the Rock. When we build our lives on Him and His Word, we are building our lives on solid ground that will not crumble beneath the load of our lives. When the storms come, our house will stand.
HOW DOES THIS PLAY OUT?
When I face a decision, what level of priority do I give my feelings? Do I make them A factor, or do I make them THE factor?
When I allow my feelings to be in charge, they become tyrannical. Obedience to God easily goes out the window. Love for others becomes “too complicated,” “too costly” or “inconvenient.” If all that matters is my personal happiness in the moment, my deceitful heart can justify any sin against God or against others because my only concern is “I need to feel happy right now.”
When Jesus is my LORD, His Word is the deciding factor. I can certainly express my feelings to God. But then, if Jesus is Lord, I obey God. Period. No matter what my feelings are at the time. I value His wisdom much more than my own and His truth much more than my emotions.
Here is a little secret about obeying God.
Obedience comes first. Feelings usually follow obedience.
But even if good feelings don’t follow my obedience to God, my feelings are not important in comparison with my obedience to God. God calls me to live a holy life, to live in the power of His Spirit, to walk as Christ walked. He says that if I love Him, I will obey Him. He says that those who do not obey Him do not love Him. (John 14:22,24)
God will judge me based on how I lived my life according to His holy standards, not according to my emotions. The only way I can do this is to be filled up with His Spirit, abiding in Him daily and allowing His power to regenerate my spirit. Then He empowers me to live the way He commands me to live in ways I never could on my own. But I must be willing to submit fully to Him and abandon anything He says is sin.
TEARING OUT THE IDOL OF FEELINGS
It can be scary to stop basing our lives on our emotions if that is what we have always done. But there is so much freedom when we allow God’s Spirit to be in charge instead of our feelings! Then we are no longer slaves to our fleeting and ever-changing emotions. Being a slave to our emotions ALWAYS means we will also be a slave to sin. We want to feed the sinful nature and the desires of the flesh when we listen to feelings. When we die to our old sinful nature and live as living sacrifices for Jesus, there is great love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control in increasing measure in our lives.
Now, we allow God to be in charge and we boss our feelings around instead of allowing our feelings to be the boss and dictate what we will do in any situation. God’s Word becomes the standard and pleasing Him becomes our goal.
Tomorrow, we will continue this post and talk about some practical examples. 🙂
Your Emotions are a Gauge, Not a Guide – Desiring God