We’ve been created by God to feel. Feelings are powerful, and the Christian life is supposed to be full of good feelings not devoid of them, but if we allow ourselves to be overly led by our feelings then we find ourselves messing up.
Our modern society is very ‘feeling‘ based: Do what you feel, disagree if you feel, I will only believe it if I feel it. These are all mantras of a way of thinking that says there are no absolutes, no such thing as absolute truth.
What we begin to understand as we let Jesus take hold of our lives is that God disagrees with this take on life. There is such a thing as absolute truth, and His word declares it: ‘Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.’
So where do feelings fit in? We’re meant to feel, but those feelings are supposed to be tied to truth.
For example: A person drives west on the motorway at 70 miles an hour and they stick their head out of the window. From which direction is the wind hitting their face? From the west. What if they were driving east at 70 miles an hour on the same day. From which direction do they feel the wind hitting their face? From the east. The direction which they were travelling denotes the direction from which the feeling of the wind came from.
The Kingdom of God is said to be righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. At least two of those attributes are experiential. They are supposed to be felt. We feel peace, we feel joy. In the list of the fruits of the Spirit, we again see at least three fruits listed that are felt; Love, joy, peace. All of them are part of our encounter with God. In fact the Holy Spirit is sometimes spoken of as a wind. You cannot see Him but you can see and feel His effect.
So, how do we live more in the effect of these good feelings rather than the myriad of contrary feelings we experience in this world? I believe it’s in the same way as we experience much of the rest of our new life, by believing what God declares is the truth.
When I begin to believe that God is with me, that He wants a relationship with me, and can be experienced by me, I begin to encounter Him on a greater level. He inhabits my place of believing. Take peace for example: Peace, as the Bible expresses it, is not the absence of something but the presence of someone. Peace is found in the presence of God. As God inhabits my place of believing I receive peace.
When you encounter an unpleasant circumstance, you can travel one of two ways in your thinking. You can be negatively influenced by what you are going through and experience feelings such as despair, sadness, heaviness, anxiety, and so on. The very experience of these negative feelings can even encourage you to travel faster in the wrong direction as your despair increases. Or you can head the other direction. You may not know what is going on, but you embrace the Truth. You trust God’s goodness, and His love for you. As you head that way, your negative feelings begin to change. You begin to experience feelings such as love, joy, peace, hope, and so on. The experience of these feelings can likewise cause you to travel faster in this contrary direction.
These new feelings are not caused by our circumstances but are despite them. The negative circumstances may not as yet have changed, but what you are believing has. In changing your thinking you begin to come under the atmosphere of heaven, where there is no despair, but there is love, joy, peace, and hope.
If your feelings are harmful rather than helpful, it’s a sure bet that in most cases the fault lies in what you are believing. God’s presence inhabits our places of faith. As we embrace truth, by His grace we feel the benefits of His Kingdom.
Today, I pray that God begins to reveal to you those places He wants to inhabit for your good. As He shows you, He’ll point out where your beliefs need to change. As you embrace that truth, and persevere in faith, your feelings will follow.
Love, joy, and peace to you all X
I would love to hear your stories of how faith in God’s goodness transformed how you saw a negative circumstance. Please leave a comment below.
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