Staying In Touch with Your Feelings

“Love is a decision, not a feeling.”

I don’t know who came up with that statement, but I think most of us have heard something like it many times. Indeed, there are times when you do things you don’t feel like doing. And loving is one of those things.

But is this the whole story? Can you really love without feeling anything? Would you appreciate a spouse who loved you but had no feelings for you? Does it help to know that your dad would do anything for you if he doesn’t even enjoy being with you? Can you say that you love God when you don’t feel anything towards Him?

My point is that just because your relationship with God isn’t all about feelings doesn’t mean that feelings aren’t important at all. In fact, they’re crucial to the Christian life, for at least three reasons:

  1. Human beings are whole persons. Theologians like to parse the component parts of the human being. Soul, spirit, body; mind, emotions, will. Practically, however, humans are one coherent whole. Try to think without using your body . . . You can’t. You just used your brain. In like manner, if a truth about God has affected your mind, it ought to show up in your emotions. If it doesn’t, something’s wrong. That’s how we’re built.
  2. God is worthy of an emotional response. Think about who God is. He is the supreme Judge, the Creator of all things, the Almighty. I remember Sunday School teachers telling me that the fear of the Lord is more like respect or reverence. “You shouldn’t be afraid of God.” Really? Don’t you think real fear is an appropriate response to those truths? But He’s also the Father, the Sovereign who listens to His people from His throne of grace, the One who sent His only Son. God is not an addendum to the rest of life. He is the Beginning and the End. That should move us.
  3. Experience warns of the danger of disconnecting “head-knowledge” and “heart-knowledge.” We all know people who “knew” a lot of stuff about God, but in the end, forsook it all to follow their own desires. I don’t want that to be me. But it happens all the time.

What do you feel when you sing a hymn, read a passage, or listen to a sermon? Anything? Or have you grown jaded and restless? Take some time this weekend to cultivate the right feelings toward God.

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