What feeling controlled you this morning?
Who has impacted your life today in a negative way?
What emotions have you felt so far today?
Have you ever contemplated the fact that most of us live almost entirely by our feelings? Or that we blame our little emotional outbursts on our personality types? Oh, we may not think we are emotionally driven beings, but let’s look a bit closer. Many of us unknowingly give our feelings free reign over our day to day lives which often leads us to venting, or more graphically, vomiting our feelings all over anyone in our paths. And we often feel justified in this simply because we have ill feelings at the moment or we think “That’s just how I am”. Just like when we contract a stomach virus, we often feel better temporarily after we have spewed out what’s inside. And woe to anyone who stands in our way! We have been wrongly taught that our feelings are always valid and even good, regardless of what they are, just because we feel them. Therefore, we believe it is always a legitimate practice to spew them in a noxious way out of our minds and mouths and onto others, when actually all the sinful ones are good for, is to be flushed and removed far from us. This diseased lifestyle is not the manner of life to which God calls His children.
“We are under the illusion that we can’t help how we feel; our emotions are considered the foundation of who we are,” says Chris Tiegreen in The One Year Devotional: Walk with God, p. 16. With this belief, many Christians have been led down a relationally destructive path where debris falls behind them at every turn. Verbal hurricanes flow from their mouths leaving nothing and no one standing in its wake. No wonder family and friends run for shelter when the storm hits and even when they see the storm rising on the horizon. We often contaminate and destroy those we love most when we live by our feelings rather than by the Word of God. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Prov. 4:23
God commands us to do and abstain from many things. But He also commands our feelings and what we do with them. The Bible commands all manners of emotions such as joy, forgiveness, fear, love, various desires, kindness, tenderness, mourning, and more and God commands that we exercise self-control over all these. Is this a new idea to you? Does it seem impossible and maybe frightening? Does this turn your stomach just a little or seem repugnant to you? Take heart! The God who loved you when you were His enemy and died for you while you hated Him can make this a joyful, delightful and even relief-filled truth for you. But for today, I just wanted to introduce this idea that we are responsible for our feelings, that some feelings are sinful and that the expression of our temperaments and feelings can contradict the Word and let you pause and meditate on this for a while. For proof of these statements please see the scriptures listed below. Then find hope and a bit of the solution to this dilemma in this quote from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Spiritual Depression, p. 101.:
I have already been at pains to emphasize that all our temperaments are different, and I want to emphasize it again. But at this point I would say that although our temperaments are different, our temperaments* should not make any difference at all face to face with the task. Now here is the miracle of redemption. We are given our temperaments by God…but it must never be true of us as Christians that we are controlled by our temperaments*. We must be controlled by the Holy Ghost. You must put them* in order. Here are the powers and capacities and here is your particular temperament that uses them, but the vital point is that as a Christian you should be controlled by the Holy Spirit. What is so tragically wrong in a Christian is that he should allow himself to be controlled by his temperament*. The natural man is always controlled by his temperament*, he cannot help himself; but the difference that regeneration makes is that there is now a higher control even over our temperament*. The moment the Holy Spirit enters in, He controls everything including temperament, and so He enables you to function in your own particular way through your temperament…Temperament* remains, but temperament* no longer controls. The Holy Spirit is in control.
Where I have placed an *, please re-read the paragraph above and put the word “feelings” in the paragraph. This is what I believe Dr. Lloyd Jones was saying in context. Also, the bolding is mine emphasizing that while we are definitely enabled by the Spirit to live self-controlled lives, we often ignore His Spirit and live according to our feelings rather than faith.
Take a little while to think about any ways you may have “spewed” today or this week. is this a godly way of life? Did you dishonor the Lord in any of the ways you expressed yourself, even with facial expression or sighs or body language? Have you had sinful feelings? if you find that you have sinned in how you have felt or expressed yourself, please know that the sacrifice of Jesus has paid the price for your sin as a believer in Him, and all you need to do is repent and confess to God (and any people involved) and you will find cleansing for your soul.
All these passages command us to feel or not to feel in certain ways, quite contrary to our normal ways of thinking: (I have purposefully not typed out the passages because I find there is much more value in each of us looking up scripture for ourselves, especially when the topic is a difficult one than in all of it being typed out for us.)
1 Peter 1:22
1 Peter 1:17
1 Peter 2:2
2 Tim. 1:7
Acts 24:25 and many many more!
Stay tuned for more on the topic of faith and our feelings and what God says about how we are to feel and live. Blessings to you on this lovely day.