Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trusting in Truth and Not in Feelings

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."  Isaiah 26:3

This morning as I was praying, I realized that the fervency in my prayers as of late has been declining. On top of that realization, my soul has felt very unsettled about the divide I see continually growing as I have let my feelings take over where I know the truth of the Lord should be taking precedence. It was during this prayer time, as these thoughts were going through my mind, that I felt the nudge of the Spirit to pray through my feelings and instead to pray alone on the basis of God's truth - for that I asked the Lord to help me since it was not within me that I knew this change could happen.

You see, I have come to realize over the years through my experiences and through my study of God's word that even though I am less internally passionate about seeking God at times, my feelings are not to be the basis upon which I ultimately decide who God is in my life and who He says He is in His word.

Of course I was not surprised then when I sat down to read God's word this morning, that the author of one of my devotionals quoted 2 Corinthians 5:7 and equated sight to feelings. Through this confirmation regarding what I had prayed earlier, God made sure I knew He had received my prayer and was delighted to answer me as the Holy Spirit had directed my heart to call out to Him.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

If we were to only act on our feelings and what we see, then we would not be living in faith at all, but rather in disobedience to what the Lord has told us is true. We must choose the god we serve from either the One who speaks His truth in the bible as our Redeemer and King or from one of the false gods our enemy uses to heighten our selfish desires and corrupt hearts. Giving lordship to truth over feelings is a constant battle for the Christian because feelings are so intense and they come upon us without warning. To not prepare ourselves for where feelings may take our hearts and our internal allegiances is the same thing as allowing ourselves to walk straight onto the path of destruction – one that leads us not only away from the Lord Jesus for a short time but one that hardens our hearts and minds towards God with every step we take. See what Ephesians 4 has to say to that effect.

...you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” Ephesians 4:17b-19

Living by feelings alone long enough will lead the heart to do things that are even beyond what the heart is able to reason through feelings. Actions which are “past feelings” are taken by a heart which has been so hardened against truth that it no longer even sees that where it is headed.  This sort of living, even though it "seems right in the eyes" and heart of man, it will never bring the peace and hope the person controlled by this way of living ultimately seeks.

There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22

Feelings lead us away from truth and whether they are feelings of complacency, joy, or utter despair we must be on the guard day and night so as not to let them rule over what God has told us is really true. The truth the Lord provides us is true no matter what our situations may be tempting us to believe. Feelings which are based on assumptions, our internal condition (which is sinful and always in opposition to truth unless we allow the Holy Spirit to take over it), and calculated temptations thrown at us from or enemy are meant to draw us away from the truth we have learned about God. Just by understanding where feelings originate is the beginning of understand why we must put the utmost care into making sure we don't rely on them and why we need to steep ourselves in God's truth all the more.

Seek truth beyond what you feel and you will find that God will be there when you have pushed through your feelings and trusted in Him beyond what you can see. When we experience doubt, fear, impatience, despair, or alienation we need to remember that God does not want us to allow these feelings to be our faith inhibitors but rather our faith motivators. Yes, sometimes it seems like darkness surrounds us and we cannot see the face of God no matter how hard we try. But, just because we cannot see God and our feelings do not move us in ways to desire Him as they once had or as we would like to see them move us, that does not mean He is not there and that everything He says about Himself is not true.

Living past what we feel and walking forward upon the precepts of God during those dark and quiet times are opportunities for us to find that ALL God says He is in His word is completely true. And when we push beyond what we can see and feel and trust in God over all we are tempted to believe on the contrary, the greatest and most powerful feelings that God alone can give us will be ours, the feeling of peace – the only feeling that truly allows us to find rest in our souls and strength in our faith for the journey that will lead us home to His ever-loving and faithful arms.

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