Monday, September 24, 2012

Are You Letting your Feelings Tell You What to Do?

Have Your Feelings Become Your Master?

How are you feeling?

Are you feeling:
Ready for anything?
Tired of everything?
Ready to throw in the towel on something important?
Ready to try something entirely out of your comfort zone?

Everyone has times when they have almost overwhelming feelings on something or everything at the same time.  This might be nice when a person is overcome with joy and gladness.  It is definitely the pits when they are overcome with despair, sorrow, or depression.

Feelings can get you into trouble very quickly when they are allowed to become the leader. 

I recently read a supposed John Wayne quote that said something like this, ‘Courage is being scared to death--- and saddling up anyway.’  I don’t know if he actually said that or not – but it is a good quote.  You could also say things like:

‘kindness is being too tired or disinterested to help someone – but helping them anyway’.
‘Cheerfulness is being too distressed or depressed to put on a happy face – but doing it anyway’.
These are examples of not allowing feelings to be the leader. You can probably think up some better examples than these if you give it a little thought.  

A very interesting fellow from the Bible is Noah.  What a character this guy must have been.  Of the entire world, he had seven people who followed his lead.  Can you imagine how much ridicule and disrespect he had to endure daily?  Do you suppose he had times of depression, doubt, and even despair?  Or, did he go through each day entirely focused on just getting the job done?

When feelings are the leader, the destination or outcome is always in question. 

I recently read a sermon by John MacArthur on Enoch.  In the sermon he mentions traits of heroes of the Bible.  These traits are faith, faithfulness, and fruitfulness.  I love that so much I will repeat it – faith – faithfulness – fruitfulness.

Now here is the question:
‘How far do you think any of the Bible heroes would have gotten if they had been led by their feelings?’

We do know that Noah got up every day and went to work doing what he knew he was supposed to do regardless of how he felt about it that day.  I think in part that Noah went forward by simply focusing on the exact task at hand.

This year on the 68th anniversary of D-Day my husband’s Uncle Gerald was honored at a ceremony commemorating that day and his sacrifice.  Gerald was only 25.  He had already been awarded 3 purple hearts and several other medals before that day.  On that day his actions merited the Distinguished Service Cross.  In doing research on Gerald another of Jerry’s uncles located a man who was with Gerald during his last minutes on earth.  He told the family that Gerald simply focused on the moment at hand.  Whether he was getting equipment out of the raging North Atlantic or carrying wounded to safety he lived in that moment.  That was it.  He ignored the battle raging around him and did what was in front of him to do.  If he had allowed his feelings to lead him through that day what would he have done? 

We are not in a battle like the good fighting men of the world faced on June 6, 1944. We are also not in a culture as corrupt as that of Noah’s day.  However, we ARE in a great battle.  The Judeo/Christian way of life for which those soldiers fought is under siege today.  At the heart of any conflict you will find Lucifer stirring up hatred toward the righteousness of God Almighty. 

 So what are we to do?  March?  Protest? Vote? Throw in the towel?

I better idea would be to follow the examples already mentioned.

First – have faith in God.  Trust Him.  Simply put, believe Him.  Believe what God has told us.  Set aside feelings of doubt and believe what God tells you in the Bible.  Now, He may impress something on your heart personally, but He isn’t going to give you a new revelation.  Search the scriptures; struggle to understand them correctly; believe what they say.

Second, be faithful to God.  It can’t be any harder for us today than it was for Noah.  We know positively that Noah and his family were alone in a world of unbelievers.  Not one single person outside his family actually followed God. 

Third, be fruitful.  Keep in mind that being fruitful is not ‘leading people to the Lord’.  Being fruitful is bearing fruit in yourself.

Galatians 5:22 tells us, ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,’.

Ephesians 5:9 tells us, ‘(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)’

These verses give us definite things that we are to cultivate in our own lives.  When a Christian believes God and is faithful to God the fruit of the spirit will be obvious in his or her life. 

Christians who are loving, joyful, peaceful with others as much as possible, gentle, and so on are pleasing to God.  They are certainly more qualified to take to preach and teach others about Jesus Christ. 

Isaiah 50:4 tells us, ‘The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.’

No one get’s this ‘tongue of the learned’ being led by their feelings.  They get it through faithfully studying the Word of God.

2 Timothy 4:2 says, ‘Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.’

A believer who is filled with the fruit of the Sprit is going to be tender hearted and better equipped to tell others about Jesus. 

Let’s go over it one more time:

Have faith – believe God.  Believe Him regardless of how you feel.
Be faithful – spend the time studying the Bible to understand what it says.  Don’t sit around and wait for a ‘feeling’ to tell you what to do.  Read the Bible.  Do what it says to do.  Apply Bible teaching to personal actions. 

Bear fruit – Remember Galatians 5:22.

Finally, focus on the task at hand.  Whether you are in a literal battle field, or in a hectic day, or in a peaceful fun day, stay focused on the exact task at hand.  Remember Matthew 6:34 which instructs us, ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’

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