Summary: Many of our decisions are based on how we feel at the time. You’ve heard the phrase, “If it feels good; do it.” Some people direct their lives by how they feel. “Just follow your heart”. But should we be putting so much emphasis on how we feel? Should we
INTRODUCTION: There is a lot of talk about feelings. There’s even a song called, ‘Feelings’. Sadly, there are some people whose faith can be described by the first line, “Feelings, nothing more than feelings.” Many of our decisions are based on how we feel at the time. You’ve heard the phrase, “If it feels good; do it.” Some people direct their lives by how they feel. “Just follow your heart”. But should we be putting so much emphasis on how we feel? Should we disregard our feelings altogether? Let’s see what we can find out about our feelings and how we should deal with them.
1) Our heart can’t be trusted.
· We’re taught to follow our heart. Whatever you feel in your heart is the way you should go. Whatever your feelings tell you is the right thing for you. But, we need to see that our heart cannot be trusted. Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
· How is our heart deceitful?
a. It will distort reality. If I feel alone, I will convince myself that I am alone. If I feel like a loser, I’ll convince myself that I am one. If I feel unloved, I will convince myself that no one loves me, including God. We have the tendency to feed negative feelings to the point of making them reality. We can also distort reality by feeding our positive feelings. When we feel secure in our good deeds we convince ourselves that we’re right with God. When we do something good, our heart feels good. That’s not a bad thing, but when we put too much emphasis on those good feelings, we can distort reality. That will keep us from seeing that our acceptance before God isn’t based in deeds, it’s based in Jesus. Our heart can distort reality.
b. It will distort God’s will. When I use my heart to determine God’s will or approval I can be deceived. If we don’t line our heart up with God’s truth we’ll be in trouble. We will convince ourselves that our heart is God’s truth. That’s why it is deceitful. We will convince ourselves that what we want to do is God’s will when really it’s simply what we feel so strongly that we should do. Or, since we feel justified in our thoughts or actions we will convince ourselves that we’re undeniably correct in our thinking. There’s great danger in that. Prov. 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” I can be going along, thinking I’m right because my heart tells me so. But, I can really be unwittingly moving toward my own death. This shows me how dangerous it is to trust my feelings. “A Christian life based on feeling is headed for a gigantic collapse.” – Erwin W. Lutzer. I shouldn’t just follow my heart.
c. It will give us a false sense of security. Job 24:22-24. Feelings can give us a false sense of security. In our own power we feel secure. We convince ourselves that because of what we’ve accomplished we are secure. We view prosperity as security. But the reality is, in these things there is no real assurance. If we feel mighty in our own power, God will need to demonstrate his. God’s eyes are on our ways. Feelings of security can blind us to real danger. 1st Thess. 5:1-3. Many people feel secure based on how things seem at the time. But reality isn’t always determined by appearances. There can be the calm before the storm. We may feel secure with the Lord based on how we feel about ourselves. “I’m a good person”. “I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re all ok.” But, when we do that we are oblivious to imminent danger. If our security is based in feelings, we are in trouble.
· So, what do we need to do?
a. Trust in the Lord, not our feelings. Prov. 3:5&6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart (trust in the Lord, not yourself. In the Lord, not your feelings. I can trust my heart when my heart trusts the Lord). Lean not on your own understanding (don’t go simply by how you feel). In all your ways acknowledge him (we need to determine if how we feel lines up with God’s will). And he will make your paths straight (we won’t go wrong following the Lord’s path but when we follow our feelings, we are left regretting our decision). "Emotions don’t make a good engine. They only make a good caboose."-Robert AuBuchon. Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t trust anyone but myself”? How is that dangerous? When I lean on my own understanding I tell myself that my instincts are never wrong. I convince myself that the little voice inside me is always telling the truth. So, when other people try to speak into my life, I won’t listen if what I’m telling myself is different. And then I go by my feelings and end up doing great harm to myself and others. Sometimes my instincts are correct. But the ironic thing is, when they’re wrong I don’t take proper notice of that and when a situation arises again I still feel I can trust my feelings. Proverbs 28:26, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” The problem with feelings is that they change. I can feel one way about something today and differently about it tomorrow. What doesn’t change, however, is God’s truth. Therefore, we need to trust God’s wisdom, not our feelings.