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Feelings

February 15th, 2013

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.

Feelings are real but seldom reliable, neither to be ignored nor fully trusted.

Do you ever consider how much everyday life is governed by emotions? There is a close link between what you think and what you feel. Thoughts and emotions are usually the origin of what people believe, and therefore what they do. But should those be allowed such authority? Emotions are a gift from God to enhance and enrich the human experience, adding color and joy to life. Don’t be shy about them; enjoy feelings richly but don’t be ruled by them.

The Bible counsels, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT. Your emotions are sourced where the Bible calls, “the heart of man.” Proverbs 20:5 NKJV. That isn’t referring to a physical heart, pumping life-giving blood and oxygen through your body. See Psalm 28:7 NIV. When I read every reference to “heart” in a Bible concordance, I was surprised at the number. To God, the heart and emotions are important matters, even primary. The Bible says the first and great commandment is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart . . soul . . mind, and . . strength.” Mark 12:30 NKJV.

Many times, you will be tempted to cater to your feelings, directed by whims and wants. Realize how unreliable, therefore misleading, feelings can be but also know the authority you can have over your emotions. You might wonder, “How can I ignore how I feel?” There are times when you must. After allowing myself to be ruled by feelings and permitting them to decide and direct my attitudes and actions for too long, I learned two things: feelings are real but seldom reliable, neither to be ignored nor fully trusted. When they are right, enjoy them; when they are wrong, rise above them.

Certainly, acknowledge your feelings. Ignoring does not remove them. Examine them honestly according to the truth of the God’s Word. Godly emotions align with reality; they are helpful and healthy; they agree with God’s truth; they direct you in a Godly path. As with thoughts, so with feelings, “We refute arguments and theories and reasonings, and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away, captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 AMP. When your thoughts and emotions are “captives” obedient to Christ, you walk with “love . . a pure heart . . a good conscience . . and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 NIV.

Emotional maturity is choosing to trust truth above feelings, and following truth before feelings. Feelings are fickle, changing by the moment without cause or reason. You might feel badly with no idea of why, or feel wonderfully though all is not well. Unexplainable? Yes, but you choose how you will live; choose to trust truth. Obey God at all times. Trust Him in everything. Love Him completely. Life is about your heart being right with God.

A friend told me I once counseled him to, “Be true to the Truth,” in a situation where his emotions were all over the map. Those words are a “true north” when confused or uncertain. Though I do not recall doing so, I hope I did for that is what I deeply believe. Above all else, I want to be true to God’s Truth. That’s how you successfully “guard your heart,” and all else affected from there.

My prayer for you today is to value truth highly and to that be steadfastly true.

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