It's More Than a Feeling
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
"I know it's right because I feel it".
How many times have we heard that? Have many times have we said it ourselves. The media thrives on people living by this concept. We seem to live with the idea that if we feel something "in our gut", then it must be true. We tend to think that being a good little human means living based on emotions and our feelings.
But here's the problem- we are flawed, sinful humans. Yes, we are redeemed, and yes, we have the Holy Spirit if we belong to God, but our judgement, feelings, and emotions are still tainted. They will be until we get to Heaven.
The problem with this whole "I feel it in my gut" thing, is that we carry it over into Christianity. Suddenly, the leading of the Holy Spirit becomes about how we feel, instead of a matter of discernment and truth. Yes, sometimes the Holy Spirit leads in random, strange ways. It isn't always a cookie-cutter formula, but it will never contradict God's word.
There is a Youtube video floating around out there somewhere, that shows a pastor talking to his congregation. He says in the video that one day God told him to drop-kick an elderly lady, so he did...I'm not making this up, unfortunately. And you see, we can think a lot of weird things. We, as twisted humans, or even by the whispers of the devil, can certainly come up with the idea to drop-kick an old lady. But God? God is not going to tell you to do that. How do I know? Read His word. It's full of words about kindness and gentleness, and about helping and loving the elderly. If God is calling you to do something, it is not going to contradict His word.
And I know that the "drop kick an old lady" thing is kind of over-the-top, but people do similar things all the time. People were convinced that the world was either ending or that the rapture was coming in the year 2000, so they sold their possessions, made an underground bunker, and prepared for whatever was to come at the new year. Their were some really good people who were convinced that God was telling them to do those things. But that wasn't God.
Conviction is about discernment too. You don't just say "I'm convicted about this because I feel this way". That is what the people who wouldn't eat the food that Paul talked about in the Bible were doing. And it's the same thing some well-meaning churches are doing when they think alcohol, dancing, and women wearing pants is wrong. They are going off of what other's told them and then they feel guilty about it, so they think it is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Instead of functioning that way, there should always be discernment added to feelings. We need to discern through Scripture why something may be wrong or right. We have to look past our feelings and past surface issues, and into the heart of the matter. Do we think something is wrong (or right) just because someone told us so, or just because we feel a certain way about it?
My former pastor once said, "Just because you feel or think something, doesn't make it true". As simple as that statement is, it really spoke to me, because I am really bad about going by feelings. That is why I am passionate about speaking out against it. I often condemn myself and call it conviction, or feel something and call it the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't. Sometimes how I feel has nothing to do with what God is saying, and yet I slap His name on it and call my feelings "His leading". That is a very dangerous game. That is why it is so very important for us all to study Scripture and be discerning about our "gut feelings". Don't call something "God" just because you feel it.
Are you prone to going off of feelings without being discerning? How can we all do a better job of finding that balance where we are led by God freely, and yet we still use wisdom and discernment?