Feeling Good (or Bad) Doesn’t Make It True
In our culture today, we tend to believe that our feelings always tell the truth, including the truth about spiritual matters. However, just because you FEEL that something is right and good and true doesn’t MAKE it right and good and true, and vice versa. Even as Christians, even when we are following the Lord, we are still fallen creatures in a fallen world. Our emotions can lie to us in the same way that our bodies can fail us and our logic can get screwed up.
--- We can feel that everything is right with our relationship with God when we are actually harboring sin in our heart.
--- We can feel that a certain event was very worshipful when it wasn’t glorifying God at all.
--- We can feel moved by a sermon that was based on popular thought and not on the Bible.
In each of these cases, we might think that “this must be right, or it wouldn’t feel so good” or “This must be of God, or it wouldn’t feel so good.”
It works the other way, too:
--- We can feel like our relationship with God is in the toilet when it is actually going strong.
--- We can feel lousy during worship yet be worshiping in spirit and in truth.
--- We can feel irritated and even angered by a sermon that preaches truth to our need.
So what are we saying here? That we should discount our emotions? By no means: we are emotional beings. That is part of God’s design. But we should always hold our emotions and the object of our emotions up to the light of reason: Is the object of our emotions true or false / good or bad based on the truth revealed in Scripture? Is our emotional response to the object of our emotions appropriate or inappropriate?
For example, suppose you feel that your relationship with God is just awful. Assess the situation: Do you love God? Are you seeking to obey him? Are you reading his Word and praying? Are you serving others? Are you demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit? If the answer to all these things is “yes,” then your relationship with God is perfectly fine, regardless of how you feel about it. Instead, upon reflection, you may realize that you are suffering from depression or work stress or illness that is causing an emotional low and that needs to be addressed.
Remember always: YOUR FEELINGS ARE SUBJECTIVE, THEREFORE THEY NEED TO BE JUDGED BY OBJECTIVE MEANS.