Summary: God never intended emotions or feelings to guide or reveal what is right or wrong. They are constantly changing, and they need to be controlled because they can take control of a person and lead them into serious error and deception.
Human emotions are deeply intertwined with the five basic senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, which human beings use to investigate and perceive the world around them. They are essential for processing, learning, perception, reasoning, problem-solving and adapting to the events of life, whether good or bad.
Emotion is something that is experienced mentally, spiritually and physically. God is emotional about His love for us (Jn 16:27; Rev 3:9). Emotions can cause a sensory feeling or expression, such as happiness, joy, love, excitement, curiosity, anger, sorrow, fear, worry and hate. It is usually accompanied by a physiological reaction within the body.
Feeling and emotions are distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness. Cognition is the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning. Volition is the free will to choose or make a decision. Thoughts govern the emotions which play a role in a person’s behavior and how they perceive other people and the world around them.
The emotions can also be a spiritual liability because feelings have their roots in the sin nature. The enemy lied to deceive Eve and appealed to her emotions of delight for good food, as well as her emotional curiosity and desire to be made “wise,” in order to override her submission to the command of God not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 2:17, 3:6; 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:14). Adam ate the forbidden fruit because his emotions could not bear the thought of being without Eve. The enemy wants to use emotions to tempt a person and lead them away from the written truth of God’s Word, the Bible.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (1 Tim 3:14-17 ESV)
The Unchanging Mind of God
The Scriptures contain the unchanging mind of God, which will never fail those who put their trusting-faith in Him. Those who allow themselves to be controlled by the emotional desires of the flesh will only care for the pleasures of the flesh - but those who allow themselves to be controlled by Holy Spirit will find themselves doing the things that please God.
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it never did obey God's laws and it never will. That's why those who are still under control of their old sinful nature, bent on satisfying the desires of the flesh and mortal spirit cannot please God." (Rom 8:1-8 NIV)
It is only the Word of God that can deeply penetrate, sift and analyze the reflections of the heart. It separates the old fearful nature of the soul – the mind, emotions, feelings, senses, etc., from the spirit within – the realm where trusting-faith lives and grows. It is independent of the senses since it is supernatural understanding and not experience, feelings, mental conviction, enthusiasm, or something that can be touched or seen.
God never intended emotions or feelings to guide or reveal what is right or wrong. They are constantly changing, and they need to be controlled because they can take control of a person and lead them into serious error and deception. Experiencing good feelings of warmth and elation or conviction about something does not make it true or correct. The emotional “burning heart” testimony of “I know it’s true because I feel it my heart,” or “I feel the Spirit” does not make anything actually “true.”
When pilots are trained to fly they are taught that they must totally trust the instruments of the aircraft. If they rely only on sensory input, they could get into a situation where they may not be able to get out. The senses are reliable only to a certain point. The ultimate proof is checking the instruments to verify their feelings. A pilot could have a “gut” feeling that something is wrong but they must confirm it by checking the instruments.
While flying through clouds, a pilot could “feel” as if they are flying straight and level, when in actuality they may be in a slow turning spiral, or even totally upside down, not realizing it because everything “feels” ok. Flying too high without oxygen will cause the emotions of euphoria, elation and overconfidence before the people in the aircraft ultimate pass out and die from hypoxia. If they look at their instruments, they will know for certain what altitude they are at and if they are flying straight and level.