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  • Daniel Botkin

Stop Trusting Your Feelings


Feelings are part of being human. Feelings are a blessing in their proper place, but a curse when misused. People often express their feelings with statements such as the following:

  • “I feel sick.”

  • “I feel happy.”

  • “I feel hungry.”

  • “I feel tired.”

  • “I feel confused.”

In the above statements, “I feel” means “I am.” It is fine to express our feelings with statements like those. But sometimes people express their feelings with statements like these:

  • “I feel like my husband/wife doesn’t love me.”

  • “I feel like I’m not welcome at that church.”

  • “I feel like the pastor doesn’t care about me.”

  • “I feel like God doesn’t love me.”

  • “I feel that this doctrine is true, even though it contradicts the Bible.”

  • “I feel that it’s okay for me to do this, even though the Bible forbids it.”

In all these statements, “I feel” means “Based on my feelings, this is what I believe.” People sometimes talk about their feelings when expressing their beliefs. But our beliefs should not be based on, or even influenced by, our feelings.

Feelings are important, but we must not trust our feelings, because feelings can be deceptive. To walk on the narrow path that leads to life, we must trust the facts, not our feelings. As a young disciple, I had it explained to me something like this:

On the top of a high brick wall is a narrow ledge. On that ledge are three fellows named Fact, Faith, and Feelings. They are lined up one behind the other in that order, ready to walk along the narrow ledge. Mr. Fact leads the way. He knows where he is going. Mr. Faith has to keep his eyes on Mr. Fact and follow him. As long as Mr. Faith does this, he will not fall. Mr. Feelings keeps his eyes on Mr. Faith and follows him.

As long as all three fellows continue to look straight ahead, they manage to move forward and stay on the narrow ledge. But soon Mr. Faith gets concerned about Mr. Feelings. He wants to make sure Mr. Feelings is coming along behind him. So he takes his eyes off Mr. Fact, turns around to focus on Mr. Feelings, and Mr. Faith falls off the narrow ledge.

In this parable, Mr. Fact is the truth contained in the written Scriptures. Our faith must always focus on the facts of Scripture. As long as we do this, the proper feelings will follow our faith. But if we get our eyes off the object of our faith

and instead focus on our feelings, we will fall off the narrow path and make shipwreck of our faith.

Feelings cannot be trusted, because feelings can be very deceptive. Many people feel unloved or unwanted or unwelcome only because they themselves have made false assumptions about other people’s motives and intentions. Or they feel unloved, unwanted, or unwelcome because they have unrealistic expectations of other people. They expect other people to fill the void that only God can fill. They do not have a close walk with the Lord, so they expect other people to provide them with the spiritual satisfaction which they themselves lack. When other people do not provide them with spiritual satisfaction, they feel unloved, unwanted, or unwelcome.

Feelings can also easily mislead people in areas of doctrine and behavior. Many people have difficulty believing certain Biblical doctrines and Biblical prohibitions because the doctrine or the prohibition does not agree with their own personal feelings. But the truth remains true regardless of how it affects our personal feelings.

People who are misled by their feelings fail to see that they themselves are the source of their dissatisfaction. They need to quit trusting their feelings and be led by Mr. Fact.

This does not mean that our faith consists of nothing more than cold, sterile, lifeless logic. The faith which was once delivered unto the saints is a faith saturated with raw emotion and deep feelings. Feelings are important, but they are not the object of our faith. The object of our faith is the truth written in the Holy Scriptures, which truth was embodied in the One who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

If we keep our spiritual eyes firmly fixed on Him, the feelings will follow. We will experience joy unspeakable and full of glory, as it is written, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures evermore” (Ps. 16:11).


| DB

 

Image: Cartoon illustration above by Daniel Botkin. See Daniel’s art galleries at his art website, DanielBotkin.com.

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1 Comment


cheetah1896
cheetah1896
Jan 14

Thank you Daniel for the faith checkup 😊.... I would like to add a positive note about feelings too. We should always give our best welcoming to others so we can create good feelings in them 🤗

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