Choose Not to Rely on Your Emotions
Choices Change Our Lives
By Barbara Dahlgren
Often our feelings and emotions are substituted for faith. Deep and satisfying experiences are part of the Christian life, but not the essence of it. Trials, conflicts, battles, and problems are encountered along the way as well. These are part of our journey. Regardless of our feelings, we need to rely on the indwelling of Christ in our hearts and walk in obedience to Him. This is where many Christians get into trouble. They try to walk by feelings not by faith. So we must learn to trust God’s Word and His power more than we trust our feelings and experiences.
If we all followed our feelings, it would be a scary world, indeed! Feelings are ever changing. One day we are up and the next we are down. Feelings are unpredictable and unreliable. Some people say, “If it feels good, do it.” Afterwards, those same people might say, “Boy, I wish I hadn’t done that!” What feels good one day, may feel horrible the next. Our feelings can be as fickle as we are. Feelings should not rule our lives.
The Bible says we can be angry, but do not have to sin. (Ephesians 4:26) In other words, we should control our emotions, instead of letting our emotions control us. Cain did something horrible when he couldn’t control his feelings. He killed his brother Abel. Cain did not know how to deal with his feelings of jealousy, resentment, and inadequacy. Following our feelings can sometimes get us into trouble.
We need to learn to make decisions that are not based on feelings. We must make right choices regardless of how we feel. God can help us do this. He won’t do it for us, but He will guide us in the right direction through prayer, meditation, and reading His word. We need to choose to follow godly principles, instead of human nature.
We have to listen to what God says, not what people say. People want to debate scripture based on how they feel. Truth is truth, regardless of how we feel. People might say, “Follow your heart!” There may be some truth there, but remember that God warns us that sometimes our hearts can be deceitful and lead us in the wrong direction. (Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 28:26) Feelings can cloud issues, because feelings are not facts. Just because we feel something, does not make it true.
Believe it or not, our feelings are important to God. Jesus felt deeply about things. He wept. (John 11:35) God keeps track of our sorrows and tears. (Psalm 56:8) He came for the brokenhearted. (Luke 4:17) He rejoices with us. (Zephaniah 3:17)
God created feelings and expects them to be an outlet for what happens in our lives. However, He never intended them to be a guide for what is right or wrong. It’s unwise to base decisions totally on how we feel. We might feel attracted to someone, but if that someone is already married, better look for someone else.
Sometimes we must fight our feelings or they will lead us in the wrong direction. Feelings of desire can lead to adultery. Feelings of jealousy can destroy relationships. Feelings of hatred can cause death. Feelings of success can lead to being self-centered.
Consider this… Our feelings are uncertain and constantly changing, like shifting sand. However, Jesus is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) So perhaps we should let Him rule our lives, instead of our emotions. If we focus on Jesus, the emotional roller coaster ride of life will not get out of control. (Hebrews 12:2)
One final thought… We don’t want to be at the mercy of our emotions. It’s much better to be at the mercy of God.