Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Feelings Are Unreliable

Chuckle: A teenager complained to a friend: "My dad wants me to have all the things he never had as a boy – including straight A's on my report card."
Quote: “We must become acquainted with our emotional household; we must see our feelings as they actually are, not as we assume they are. This breaks their hypnotic and damaging hold on us.”  --Vernon Howard
    "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children do not conform to the evil desires (feelings) you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do"  (1 Peter 1:13-15 NIV).
In my military pilot training, I was taught to fly aircraft by instruments. When flying in clouds, and other conditions of low visibility, it becomes necessary to fly solely from the information displayed on the aircraft's instruments.  One of the most difficult things to learn is how to ignore your feelings when you have no visual reference to the ground, or horizon, and believe what the instruments are telling you.  Trying to fly based on feelings can lead to disaster as vertigo sets in.  Your feelings are totally unreliable, and the factual information being displayed by the instruments must be trusted for safe flight.
Do you make life's decisions based on feelings?  Do you attend church only when you feel like it?  Do you live your life by moods and emotions?  Either your feelings master you, or you master your feelings. Don't get me wrong, emotions and feelings are God-given and are very important for a happy life. The problem is, our feelings can misdirect us.
Here are three true or false statements - I should live my life: (1) based on my feelings; (2) based on my faith; or (3) or based on facts.  If we live by our feelings, we will make many mistakes because they are unreliable.  Therefore this statement is false.  Whether or not we should live by faith depends on the object of that faith; not faith in self, some philosophy, new age concept, or some person who is unreliable.  Unless faith is in Christ, this statement is also false.  It's true, we should live based on facts -- the facts of God's Word.  Jesus said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32 NIV).  God's Word is true whether I believe it or not - whether I act upon it or not - whether I feel good about it or not.
Bill Bright used a Train Diagram to put our feelings in perspective. The Engine represents the facts of God's Word; the Coal Car is faith which provides the fuel; and the Caboose represents feelings.  You cannot drive the train from the caboose.  Believing God's Word and acting on it is the key.  Like the aircraft instruments, God's Word always has an accurate and reliable message for me when my feelings get in the way of his will for my life.  If we are to win at Life, we must be good students of the Scriptures and make life's decisions based their truths, not how we feel.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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