How do feelings relate to the mystery and awe of God’s creative genius? We know we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), literally made a triune being in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) with a body, a spirit, and a “soulish” capability to reason and feel. Our spirit is eternal like God, though this earthly version of our bodies decays daily. (I understand that more every day!) God has all knowledge; we have some knowledge – limited and sometimes poorly used. God has character and personality, as do we, and God has feelings. He is grieved, angry, pleased, etc.
God created us with feelings as well. They enhance life as we experience joy, contentment, peace, etc. However, life also presents scenarios in which choices are made (sometimes by us and sometimes by others) that lead to sorrow, regret, anger, fear, etc. Though God meant for us to have feelings, He never meant for feelings to “have” us. They are often openly fickle, decidedly selfish, and frequently ungodly.
Why is it that we often hurl hurtful words, commit irreversible acts, and make life-changing decisions that affect others as well as ourselves in a highly emotional state – instead of taking time to calm down and seek direction from the Word, affirmation in prayer, and confirmation from godly brothers and sisters in the Lord? It is sad to admit that feelings often play a more dominant role in our decision-making than we care to admit. Unfortunately, honesty would force us to declare that feelings are often in charge of us. Our feelings “have” us, rather than our having them.
The Bible spends a significant amount of time reminding us that we are not to be afraid; that we are to put away “all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor”; and that we are to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving” (Ephesians 4:32-33). We are reminded repeatedly that all of our religiosity and spirituality is basically “nothing” but maybe some loud noise if we don’t have love (1 Corinthians 13:1-2). There are also countless verses that remind us that we are to guard our hearts to make sure that there is no lust, no impure thinking, and no malice because of the negative results produced.
It is astounding that Scripture is so full of admonition that is related to our feelings and the power they have to affect our decisions. It has been said that we should “Never make permanent decisions on temporary feelings” (unknown source). That makes great sense, but the question remains: why do we ignore that wisdom and foolishly make important decisions while we are driven by feelings? We need to make sure that the Spirit is directing our lives and that feelings are not in charge of us. Now how do you “feel” about that?
Christian Education Pastor