#3 Confusing Emotion with God’s Leading
I hear this all the time: I feel God is leading me to….I feel God wants me to….It just doesn’t feel right to me so the Holy Spirit must be telling me to…..I felt like God was so totally in it so it must be right. And often those sentences are completed with things that really don’t stack up with scripture, or seem to be reflections of a person’s personal struggle for recognition or appear to be linked to some insecurity or struggle they are facing, rather than a reflection of God’s priorities.
I’ll say it out loud: I’m just not sure our feelings a reliable indicator of anything except how we feel.
Christians today confuse emotionalism with faith, moods with promptings, inclinations with divine leadings. I’ve heard Christians say "I’m not going to serve in ministry until God tells me exactly what to do." Let me use my outside voice again: isn’t that just…arrogant? Who are we to expect God to directly reveal specifically to us what we are supposed to do? Who are we to think we get exempted from the biblical directive to serve God and others because we "feel" we need a special revelation?
Feelings are mostly just that…feelings. If I acted on my mood all the time, I’d probably be nominated for sainthood one hour and then commit a crime the next. My feelings seem to wander all over the map.
God does speak to us, but mostly He speaks to us in His Word. And in His Word He gives us direction about what matters to God and how followers should live. That pretty much applies to all of us.
The discernment comes in when we try to apply God’s clear teachings to our specific situation. Through prayer over God’s word, community and listening to those God has given particular wisdom to, we can figure out how to live in the moment for Christ. And true humility would move us to serve selflessly. Scripture directs all of us to serve, to give, to devote ourselves, to read the Bible, to worship, to show compassion. Honestly, what the Bible tells each of us to do is not rocket science. We know the drill. Often we just don’t want to do it.
How do you feel about feelings? Or better yet, what do you think God feels about your feelings?