“That’s how I feel about it.”
So often that is where the conversation ends. As if what we feel is the final say- the boss of our lives and the boss of the people we love. And, yeah, most of the time it is. We go through our everyday with our feelings in charge. We feel good? It’s gonna be a good day. We feel bad, depressed, ugly, moody, irritable? It’s gonna be a horrible day- for us and everyone we come in contact with.
Maybe it’s time we take a look at our feelings through a different light. The light of God’s word always reigns in our emotions to their rightful place. Here are just a few perspective changers.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 1 John 3:20
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. Proverbs 28:26
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:2-4
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Ouch. The Bible has a lot to say about my emotions and not one verse about how they are good. Only verses on how to change them and bring them under subjection to the will of God, am I right?
See, the bottom line is when it comes to God, His priority is to make us holy. We are in charge of your own emotions. So often we pray and pray for things that will make us happy. Who prays for strengthening exercises in the Christian life? Who prays for instances and circumstances that will draw us close to God? Most of us are only worried about our comfort, and peace, and happiness.
God commands a lot of things of our feelings. He tells us to LOVE one another. He tells us to be merciful and gracious, and He never adds, “when you feel like it.” Think about the fruit of the spirit…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galations 5:22-23
Some of those things may sound like feelings, but they are actually actions. Our feelings are supposed to take a backseat in our Christian life. God’s in the driver’s seat, I’m a passenger, and my feelings are literally in the trunk. They should have no say in what I do… Why?
If we are honest, well, if I am honest, my feelings are almost always all about me. “I don’t like this or that. They treated me unfairly. I am too tired. This makes me happy. I just need to think about me.” These are all things my feelings are screaming. Me, me, me. When in reality it’s not about me at all. Nothing in my life should be about me because I am dead to me. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do as Christians? Die to self, and become alive in Christ. Christ is living within me, but my flesh drowns Him out every chance it gets.
So how are we supposed to check our feelings? I mean they are with us every where we go. Yes, they are, but maybe they are tucked away in our suitcase as we travel and they are chosen carefully for each instance.
Say something happens or I hear some bad news. My initial reaction is to go with my feelings. Bad idea. Most of the time, that gets me in trouble. So, instead, I wait. Maybe I know how I’m feeling now, but I don’t know if that is how I should feel. Understand? Take some time, a few moments or a few hours or a few days, whatever you have, and run your feelings through the filter of God’s word. Pray and ask God to give you the right feelings. Figure out exactly how you SHOULD feel about the situation. Nine times out of ten, I find out that my initial reaction was wrong.
All of our feelings are not bad. God gave them to us for a purpose. Think of all the good things that have come from feelings…. compassion, empathy, passion, motivation, burdens in your heart. These things come from God when we have submitted our feelings to Him.
We have all heard the story of the two wolves…. right?
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
The same is true with our feelings. The more we yield to the flesh and submit our days and our lives to our feelings, the stronger it becomes and the easier it is to live by our feelings. The more we yield to God’s word and submit ourselves and our feelings to Him, the easier it is to remember that our feelings should come directly from God, and should only be what is right from His word, and the more our feelings will line up with His.
My dad likes to use this illustration:
There is a train with three cars. First car, the engine, is the “Facts” from God’s word. The second car, the coal car, is our “Faith.” The third is the caboose and it is our “Feelings.” As long as we are shoveling our coal into the right car, we will move forward. We have to put our “Faith” into the “Facts” to move forward, but as soon as we start shoveling our “Faith” into our “Feelings” we will move backward very fast.
Everyday is a new day. Every day brings new tests for us. Will we submit to God? Or will we live by our feelings? I believe the ride will be a whole lot smoother as long as we are doing what is right and feeling what is right according to God’s perfect plans. The minute we live by what is in our own deceitful hearts, we become the fool in Proverbs. Today, and everyday, let’s remember to carefully select our feelings according to God’s word, and not let them run our lives any longer. After all, we are in control of our own emotions.