by Pastor Tim Burt
If I asked you to think of person that you absolutely could not trust, could you think of and name someone? Can you think of some thing that you can’t trust such as your car to run well, or your golf game, or the weather report? Well years ago, as a young Christian, I realized that I could not trust me! To be more accurate, I couldn’t trust my feelings. I came to realize that every day I’d wake up feeling a little different. Some days I’d wake up with great energy and ready to go. Some days I’d wake up tired and sluggish. Some mornings I’d feel like whistling or singing to the Lord because I felt so light-hearted. Other days I’d wake up thinking about all that I had on my plate for that day and week and feel mentally overloaded. Some days, I’d have great ideas and thoughts and couldn’t wait to put them down on paper and think further. Other days it was like my brain was mired in a tar pit and I couldn’t get it going. All this to say—I’d wake up with different feelings every day.
Before I knew the Lord, feelings actually played into how I let my day be directed. If my feelings were negative, the day would head in that direction. If I was feeling good, I was much more likely to have a good day. Just that I would be manipulated by my feelings like that, now seems scary to me. No wonder my life was in chaos before Jesus taught me better.
Did you know you are the just! (No I didn’t just change the subject! Keep reading! ) God calls His children the just! You’ve been justified as God’s child, washed from sin, and righteous in God’s eyes because you’ve given your life to Jesus! It was His doing for you. Not your worthiness before Him! Romans 1:17 (NKJV) teaches us a profound truth that breaks the erratic and dysfunctional behavior of living by feelings. It says, “…The just shall live by faith.” This means that we are guided in our heart, mind, and body through the truth and promises of God’s Word—our faith ! Not our fickle feelings!
I can honestly say that I no longer live by my feelings. Each day that I live, I live by the choices and decisions that I weigh and make by what God’s Word has taught me. Because I don’t trust my feelings, I allow them little to no input in how and what I do, and the decisions I make. As I said, our feelings are fickle. They are not trustworthy. If they are behaving and providing upbeat and good motivation, great! I will let them play into my decision-making process. Otherwise, they have no say. For example: I routinely work out. One morning I absolutely did not feel like it. My feelings were screaming Nooooo! I pressed through and did my workout and though it wasn’t fun while I was doing it, I was very happy when it was done. Another morning I sat down to write Fresh Manna. I felt like my thoughts were trapped in cob webs and wanted to skip writing. I pressed through my feelings and was rewarded. I ended up writing a devotional that resulted in great feedback and many thank-you’s. In other words, making good decisions will most often improve your feelings—not vice versa. It is why you dominate them. You do not let them control you on any level! You have dominion over them!
King David was a person like you and I—full of feelings. There were many times when His feelings tried to dominate his decisions. His feelings are transparent in Psalm 64:1 (MB) “Listen and help, O God. I’m reduced to a whine And a whimper, obsessed with feelings of doomsday.” Those were real feelings for David. He talked to the Lord about how He was feeling, but He also let the Lord remind himself of God’s help and strength. This resulted in David overcoming feelings of discouragement and led him to talk and sing of the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness that would help him. David finished with these words… Psalm 64:10 (NLT) “The godly will rejoice in the LORD and find shelter in Him. And those who do what is right will praise Him.” David let God’s word guide him and dominate his feelings! You better know that this is critical to making sound decisions in your life!
You may want to avoid people you don’t trust, but you can’t avoid yourself or your own feelings. What you can do is dominate and take authority over your feelings. (Philippians 1:9 Message Bible) says, “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.”
I love God. Working out in the morning, praying, spending time in His Word, and writing Fresh Manna are assignments but also desires. My feelings aren’t always jubilant about doing any healthy disciplines but they always seem to experience more joy, after I’ve done them. I “test my feelings.” If they are good, I use them to help motivate me. If not, I press through because they are fickle and not trustworthy. God’s leading is! Doing what’s right according to God’s word is! Your feelings are like a dog. You need to lead them or they run wherever! When I do what is right, because it is right, my feelings follow suit and I feel better… and so will you!
Proverbs 29:11 “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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