<<thoughts, emotions>>

Feelings are indicators, even if faulty and flawed, of what is going on inside us. These sensations are commonly generated from an outside source, such as cold or pain, or associated with an emotion such as love, hate or anger.

However, as feelings can't discern between truth and lies, when you are feeling ‘out-of-sorts’ analyse why, and remedy the situation rather than continuing in the downward spiral of self-pity which is displayed in grumpy, negative and defeatist behaviour often termed moods. See this as a turning point and a catalyst to bring about a transformation by the renewing of thought patterns in your mind (Rom 12:2).

It is our responsibility to demolish (using the spiritual armour and the Word of God along with a positive mental attitude) the wrong thought strongholds that would keep us captive to the old fleshly way of life (2 Cor 10:4,5). As we take control of our thoughts and feelings, making them obedient to the new life we have in Christ, we will understand these seemingly adverse happenings are working for our ultimate good and benefit, therefore we can “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:28; 1 Thes 5:18).

Come against wrong mental thoughts and feelings with the opposite spirit – when you feel down, speak to your soul “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Rom 12:20; Phil 4:4) It is recorded when David was in a very low point he encouraged himself in the Lord and as a

Our feelings give expression to life

result of gaining a better perspective he was given a strategy that reversed this situation (1 Sam 30:6). When someone has hurt you, do not allow the flesh to get back at him or her – that is the world’s way. The Bible’s message is we who are children of the King are to live by much higher principles, thinking good constructive thoughts and repaying insults done to us with blessings (Phil 4:8; 1 Pet 3:9).

Don’t continually think about what is against you, think about Him who is for you (1 Jn 4:4). The greatest battlefield is in our minds. We determine whether we are overcome or through Christ rise up victorious as over-comers. Christ died to free us from all the negative, destructive restrictions that have plagued humanity because of sin (1 Jn 3:8). It’s our right to enter into what He died to gain for us by His blood. Don’t just give mental assent to this, press into it.

These inner emotions or passions are powerful motivators, triggering a response from us. Feelings are prompts, which provide input into the decision-making process. However, they should not be acted on independent of sound reasoning and without considering the

Do not be dictated to by your feelings

possible outcome of any action or reaction as hasty responses are often bitterly regretted because of the irreversible consequences. Positive God-honouring feelings will be revealed as beneficial to others while negative selfish feelings if expressed will be destructive. Don’t be afraid to express your honest feelings to God in prayer (Job 7:11; Mk 15:34). However, restraint should be used when expressing your feelings to other people. They should be appropriate to the situation and as with any emotions should always be under control, so when they are released in outward speech or action they don’t cause you to do what is contrary to God’s way.  Our energy level and mental state as well as other external stimuli affect our feelings. We are to live by unchangeable facts and faith, not dictated to by fluctuating feelings.

Our mental attitude also is to be grounded in the Word of God, with every faculty of our lives being subject to our spirit, which in turn is submitted to and being led by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16-18). Don’t ignore or minimise the powerful influence feelings exert within – “My anguish is enormous” (Job 6:1-3).  Feelings can be influenced by both God and evil forces to provide motivation for good or evil – we choose which it will be. God’s direction will not be against His teaching but will be for the best for you and others while Satan’s influence on our feelings will always be destructive (Jn 10:10; Gal 5:19-23). 

At times, we feel close to God, and other times as if He is a long way off, as sin and the pressures of life seek to overwhelm us and separate us from God the source of life.  He has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5).  However, a conscious separation can occur because of sin on our behalf. Act in obedience to the commands of God, not according to your feelings.

We are to master our feelings for a healthy emotional life, so deal promptly and completely with guilt, unforgiveness and all negative hurt feelings (offences) and become free of their ongoing torment.

Sometimes it is possible to hide our feelings, other times our face and body language indicate what is on our mind (Neh 2:1-3). David analysed his feelings – “Why are you cast down my soul?” then told himself to “Put your hope in God” (Ps 42:5). He was not dictated to by the way he felt but rather took positive control of the situation.

Without the ability to feel, we would not be able to appreciate love, compassion or tenderness yet they can easily get out of perspective, with fear, discouragement and pride controlling and preventing us walking in faith and obedience. Take authority over feelings that are negative with Bible promises or provision for that area, such as when feeling fearful, speak the Word of God – “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:7). God also has intense feelings, and Jesus expressed His feelings but did not let them influence His choice to do God’s will (Mal 1:2,3; Mt 26:38,39).

Many new believers have periods when they don't feel saved, yet our salvation is not determined by frame of mind.
It is essential to put our trust in God and His Word which are always constant, not in our feelings for they are so changeable (Prov 3:5, 28:26. The Bible says we are to live by faith, not feelings (Rom 1:17; 2 Cor 5:7; Gal 3:11;

Feelings are not fact

Heb 10:38). Seeking God involves diligently listening to God and doing what His Word says, rather than 'listening to your heart' and doing what it says as often what we can feel to be very right can actually be very wrong.

Certain workings of the Holy Spirit within us may involve a feeling, such as conviction of sin, comfort, and empowerment for Christian service. However, our relationship is not to be based on how or what we feel, so we must be discerning: is this feeling a prompting of the Holy Spirit, or is it a fleshly urge exerting influence on my heart? We must allow Jesus to shape our identity, not our feelings that are subject to our changeable circumstances. ‘I feel’ is a term often verbalized to indicate a person’s understanding of the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit, however ‘I believe...’ is a better expression. We should confess our faith not our feelings.

See also: attitude, body/soul/spirit, discernment, emotions, empathy, inner healing, moods, offence, positive mental attitude, reactions, self-pity, tongue.