What are you led by? What directs your decisions, actions, words, and thoughts?
As believers, we’re called to live by faith. And yet so many of us
choose to live by something else — our feelings. Have you ever made a
decision because it simply “felt right”? Have you ever said something
because it “felt like the perfect moment”?
I know I have. Before I became a believer, I lived fully by feeling. My
feelings informed my reactions to life and directed my every step. If a
pathway wasn’t accompanied by a nice feeling, it wasn’t the one I took.
Shortly after I became a believer, I still lived by my feelings rather
than my faith. I doubted my salvation because it didn’t feel real. I
struggled to believe that God still loved me when I sinned because I
couldn’t feel His love. I often gave into temptation to sin because it
felt better than obedience. My worship time was completely regulated by
my feelings as well — if I felt near to God, then I had worshiped
effectively and rightly.
Do you live by your feelings? Do you live in a similar way that I did?
If so, we need to consider what God’s Word has to say about our feelings
and what living by faith actually looks like.
Your Feelings Can’t Be Trusted
The Bible is quick to tell us that our feelings (or hearts, more accurately) can’t be trusted.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5).
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered (Prov. 28:26).
Why are our hearts deemed so untrustworthy? Two reasons: They are constantly changing and affected by sin.
Our feelings are about as certain as the sand on the beach. The sand is
always being moved, pushed forward and backward by both wind and water.
It’s kicked and thrown by people running across it, children building
with it, and dogs digging in it. It may appear to be a solid foundation
for your sandcastle, but add just a little too much water and the entire
building will collapse.
Our feelings are no different than that sand. They’re easily changed by
people and circumstances. One moment you could be happily reading a book
in your favorite chair, and a few minutes later be angered by the trail
of mud your dog just brought in. You may have felt down when you first
woke up this morning, but after an invigorating run with your favorite
music playlist, your day is looking a lot brighter. See how fickle our
Our feelings can also be influenced by others. A speaker could make you
feel passionate about a new social justice need. A worship leader could
make you feel like God’s presence is all around you. A pastor could make
you feel guilty. A friend could make you feel happy again. A
salesperson could make you feel anxious that you don’t have the latest
product. Our feelings are so easily influenced and changed by words,
actions, and tones.
This is where we can see the folly of trusting our feelings. How can you
rely on something to inform you that is always swaying? We wouldn’t
take confidence in a leader if he was always second-guessing and
changing the plan of action. Why would you trust your feelings any
better? They aren’t certain, and they are poorly informed.
Informing Our Feelings
In the end, it is God and His Word that should inform our feelings, not
the other way around. When you are tempted to listen to your feelings or
your feelings are overwhelming you, stop and look to God’s Word.
Compare what you are feeling to what He says.
Do your feelings line up? Great – follow what God’s Word says. But if
your feelings contradict God’s Word, you need to say “no” to them.
Those are the feelings we put off and ignore. Though they may feel
strong, they’re not trustworthy. God’s Word is your source and foundation. Live by it, not your feelings.
[written by Lara d’Entremont]