My feelings, emotions, and my spiritual life

Here are some of the words which I have been hearing frequently lately, “I felt very good after I prayed”, “I felt God’s presence on that night”, “I felt that God was opening doors”, “I don’t feel God anymore in my life”, “I’m looking for Him but I can’t feel Him”, “The church here doesn’t feel like…. (fill in the blank)” etc.  On the other hand, some of the words which I haven’t been hearing recently are “I’m seeking guidance”, “I’m praying for discernment”, and “What’s the wise thing to do?”  These two sets of words are not contradicting but it’s interesting to see almost a list disappearing and another list much more used.  This shows that we have been focusing so much on our feelings in our relationship with God rather than on a holistic view of who we are.

Man is created in the image and the likeness of God, carrying in him the image of the Logos, carrying in him wisdom and mind.  Man also has a soul and a body.  A soul, through which, one feels happy, sad, broken, and uplifted.  A body, through which, this mind and soul are contained and expressed. Although in casual conversations these elements are separated but one can’t continue to look at them in dissection.  God created the whole man and redeemed him fully,
He redeemed our souls and bodies.  The focus on the feelings is coming from a desire to feel good, feel good about ourselves, relationships, and even feel good about our God.  We have come to seek
an experience not God Himself; we have come to seek a spiritual emotional high not seeking God Himself.  Sarcastically I say, after all if we can’t see Him, we have to at least feel Him and even have Him at our finger tips.  It’s very sad to say that some churches now plan their worship to create
an atmosphere to move our emotions and feelings.  Of course there is nothing wrong to worship God with our whole being, in fact we are commanded, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut 6:5).  But to create an environment specifically to play on our feelings is where the problem is.  A meeting which doesn’t have waived raised hands, tears, and bodies almost at motions might be considered not spiritually edifying.  No one denies that some of us are filled with emotions and feelings more than others; we see, from
the scriptures, Anna the mother of Samuel in her cry before the Lord asking for a child and King David who was filled with feelings and emotions danced before the arch of covenant.

The issue of feeling has become very dangerous, because when one doesn’t feel God,
one believes that there is a sin in the heart, which isn’t necessarily true.  But the opposite is even more dangerous, it’s when one feels God’s presence, one believes that all is well and that the heart is pure while it could be filled with sin.  It becomes that discovering our sins and the impurities
of the hearts and senses have become driven by feelings not based on spiritual conviction of the Holy Spirit, the words of the scriptures and the life of prayers.  While sometimes “not feeling God” could mean to us a sense of abandonment, it could be a matter of testing of our faith and an opportunity of growth.  The test becomes, will you continue to obey Him, worship Him and glorify Him, despite having no sense/feeling of His presence?  If we look into the Lord’s prayer to the Father in John 17, we find it very specific and despite the difficulty of the moments, He doesn’t speak much about His feelings but rather He speaks about the union with the Father and the unity among the disciples.  Yes, He speaks of the love He shares with the Father and the Love
the disciples should have among each other, but this Love is not a feeling but a life giving
and moving in action.  Even when He taught His disciples “Our Father…” it isn’t a prayer driven by feelings but a prayer filled with the fullness of humanity, heart, souls and mind.  It’s a very heavenly prayer but yet a very realistic prayer “give us this day our daily bread”.

Some people (Christians included), make important decisions mainly driven by their feelings in lack of wisdom and experience.  Decisions of migration, relocation, marriage and relationships, carriers and pursue of business are made based on feelings, “I felt that God was opening doors”. Forsaking wisdom, other people’s experiences and even our own logic, feelings take over and
we end up in a mess. It really baffles me that we think that God is approving something contrary to the scriptures because we feel good about it.  We get ourselves in the wrong relationship and situation, breaking the commandments and because it feels good, we think it’s from God and even blessed.

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Brothers and sisters, let’s keep a balance in our relationship with God.  Let’s be guided
by the Wisdom of God Himself, and let’s be guided by His Spirit which works in the church
and let’s be guided by the wisdom of the elders, not ignoring our feelings but having them as an element of our worship and decision making process.