Feelings Are Real. But Are They Always The Truth?

feelings

There’s a new movie coming out about James Brown, who sang the hit song called I Feel Good. He’d wail, I FEEEEEEEEEL good. I knew that I would now. And of course in his song “Happy” Pharrell Williams gives us some deep insights into that emotion:

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Have you ever thought about how many feelings we can have? God has created humans with the capacity for an incredibly wide range of subtle feelings. We can feel happy, playful, calm, confident, courageous, peaceful, joyful, comfortable, optimistic, delighted, encouraged, satisfied, jubilant. We can also feel angry, afraid, depressed, hopeless, confused, hurt, sad.

Our culture is feeling-oriented and feeling-driven. Of course, Nike tells us “Just Do It” whether we feel like it or not. But popular music tells us we can’t help falling in love, and can’t help it when the feeling’s gone. We say “I’m just not feeling it.” Rather than saying, “I believe we should do this,” we say, “I feel like this is the way to go.” Even as believers we use “feeling” language a lot – I feel like God wants me to go into music.

I don’t have anything against feelings. They are a gift from God. But I’m grateful that early on in my Christian life I heard a truth that helped me immensely:

Feelings are real but they are not necessarily the truth.

Feelings are real – we truly experience them. We don’t imagine them. They are real. But they are not necessarily the truth. They may be the truth but they aren’t always the truth. If we believe in Jesus Christ and feel like God loves us and accepts us that is the truth. If we feel condemned or or that God has abandoned us that is not the truth.

Feelings are a poor barometer of the truth.

As believers we live by faith, not by sight. Our circumstances may appear to indicate that God is not for us or that he is giving us too much to handle. Yet we live by faith in God’s word which says despite our circumstances God is for us and is not giving us too much to handle.

So it is with our feelings. We live by faith in God’s word not what our feelings tell us. We may feel hopeless. We may feel like we can’t go on another day. The challenge for believers is always what are we going to believe – our feelings or God’s word?

We must believe and obey God’s word no matter how we feel.

I’m sure that Jesus did not “feel” like going to the cross for us. But Jesus didn’t live by his feelings. He obeyed his Father whether he felt like it or not.

We may feel like we can’t go on. We may feel like it is impossible to forgive someone. We probably won’t feel like rejoicing in the midst of affliction or giving thanks in everything but we can and we must obey God’s word.

Of course to be able to live by faith in God’s word we need to know God’s word. If we regularly take in God’s word and meditate on his promises, our faith will increase and we won’t be dependent on our feelings.

So remember:

Feelings are real but they are not necessarily the truth.

Feelings are a poor barometer of the truth.

We walk by faith and not by feelings.

I hope that you feel great today. I hope you feel God’s love and pleasure today. I hope you feel happy and joyful and thankful. But if these feelings elude you, don’t be discouraged. Thank God anyway. Praise him. Ask him for the feelings you desire. And believe and obey his word whether you feel like it or not.

Never Miss Any Goodness

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