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.”

Flying Lessons

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.

I have personally seen and experienced many unexplainable things throughout my life. I know of many Christians that have had things happen to them that defy rational logic. One should never interpret the Bible in the light of their experiences, no matter how profound they are, but instead, they should interpret their experiences in the authority of the Bible.

The Mark of Maturity

The enemy wants Christians to stay in spiritual nursery school, living off of pabulum preaching and emotional experience, rather than to think for themselves because it helps keep them immature, ineffectual, and powerless. The Bible says that the distinguishing mark of a mature Christian is that they desire to eat spiritual “solid food” by training “themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong” and then taking what they have learned and doing “what is right” (Heb 5:14 NLT).

When a person gives into the desires of their old sinful nature, they are displaying the true nature of the enemy and are opening their self up to his attacks and the establishment of demonic strongholds. To break the strongholds, they must “throw off” their old “sinful nature” and their “former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception” (Eph 4:22-23 NLT).

The average human has 10,000 thoughts a day. For the Christian, that means there are 10,000 choices each day to either walk in the Spirit or give in to the old nature. There is a battle for the mind of every Christian. Evil spirits can access the mind by injecting thoughts of all kinds. The Christian must be watchful so that the evil one can’t build strongholds. Holy Spirit will renew their “thoughts and attitudes” and cause them to display God’s nature, which is “righteous, holy, and true” (Eph 4:20-32 NLT).

The strongest foothold that the enemy can use to ensnare and bind a person is made up of the 3-fold emotional cord of worry, depression, and stress. These three emotions are the most effective weapons used by the enemy to immobilize and disarm the Believer in every area of their life.

Human Beings can’t live in a state of conflict between beliefs and emotional experience. The Brain needs to maintain consistency for behavior, and it will do so most often by conforming a belief to a person’s behavior, or emotional experience. This is called cognitive dissonance, a theory developed by Leon Festinger. According to this theory, when belief and behavior are in conflict, it is usually the belief that changes.

The Word of God must be the final authority on what is good and true for the Born-Again Christian. Love, joy, hatred, fear, worry, and anger are based upon human senses, which are not reliable and cannot be trusted (1 John 2:15-17; 1 Tim 6:10; 2 Tim 3:2-4; 1 Cor 13:6; 1 John 3:15, 4:20; Matt 5:22; James 1:19,20; 2 Tim 1:7; Rev 2:10). Only the Bible is trustworthy.

The Born-Again Christian is implored not to reach out with their feelings because “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov 14:12 NIV). They are also warned that “The heart is deceitful above all things and is exceedingly corrupt. Who can know it?” (Jer 17:9 NIV).

Dreams, visions, human logic, opinion, emotions, feelings, sounds, experiences, clinical “evidence,” church dogma or the teachings of “spiritual” leaders can never be the basis for sound doctrine. The Born-Again Christian must learn to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7 KJV).

The Christian walk cannot be established upon sensory spirituality or experiential interpretation that is based upon the belief in the abstract and subjective “I hear - I see - I feel - therefore it must be real” feelings, emotions and experiences. The five senses: taste - feel - hear- see - smell - are all rooted in the flesh of man. It must be God's written Word which is the cognitive, concrete foundation to base all decisions and belief. The Bible must be studied from the Creator God’s perspective, not the created.

The relating of experiences or “divine revelation” outside of the Word of God is what the Bible calls “fables.” The minute a person opens the door and begins to teach on the basis of anecdotal experience, they lose authority and introduce confusion. They should consider experience, but also note the limits of the knowledge which God has revealed. Experience does not add to the truth of Scripture. Believers are not to be "tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14 NKJV).

Faith does not come by feelings or emotional experiences. “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17 NIV). It is the Word of God alone that is “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path” (Ps 119:105 NIV). The Bible is what teaches us to “correct, instruct, and provide us to all good works” (2 Tim 3:13-17 NIV). A person must choose to do what God says and not what their emotions encourage them to do.