Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Don't Go With Your Feelings, Luke!

So, it has been a pretty challenging couple of days.  I am really tired.  And I don't feel like doing a whole lot.  I don't feel like making nachos for my husbands midnight snack, and I don't feel like fixing dinner.  I don't feel like swallowing the angry words and I don't feel like I am a good person at all.

It's amazing how God brings just the right resources to me at just the right times.  I have been reading "Spiritual Depression" by D. Martyn Lloyd Jones for the past several months.  It is a life changing book.  I have been so blessed by it.  It's not surprising that the chapter I read last week was on the topic of Feelings.  God was getting me ready, evidently. :-)  So, here are some notable quotes:

"...we cannot create feelings, we cannot command them at will.  Let me put this quite plainly.  You cannot generate feelings within yourself... In a sense, the more you try to produce feelings within yourself, the more you are increasing your own misery."

"...our feelings are variable and I would emphasize the danger of being controlled by them...Our feelings are always seeking to control us, and unless we realize this, they will undoubtedly do so.  This is what we mean when we talk about moods and moodiness.  The mood seems to descend upon us.  We do not want it, but there it is.  Now the danger is to allow it to control and grip us.  We wake up in a bad mood in the morning, and the tendency is to go on like that throughout the day and to remain like that until something happens to put us right.  Our danger is to submit ourselves to our feelings and to allow them to dictate to us, to govern and to master us and to control the whole of our lives."

 "Avoid the mistake of concentrating overmuch on your feelings.  Above all, avoid the terrible error of making them central...  The Psalmist has put it in the 34th Psalm.  He says 'Taste and see that the Lord is good'.  You will never see until you have tasted; you will not know it, you will not feel it until you have tried it.  'Taste and see', it follows as the night the day.  Seeing before tasting is impossible...  (The Bible) is not something primarily concerned to give us a joyful experience.  It is primarily Truth, and Truth is addressed to the mind, God's supreme gift to man; and it is as we apprehend and submit ourselves to the truth that the feelings follow.  I must never ask myself in the first instance: What do I feel about this?  The first question is, Do I believe it? Do I accept it, has it gripped me?"

"We are never told anywhere in Scripture that we are saved by our feelings; we are told that we are saved by believing.  'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'... I cannot make myself happy, but I can remind myself of my belief.  I can exhort myself to believe...Talk to yourself, and though the devil will suggest that because you do not feel, you are not a Christian, say: 'No, I do not feel anything, but whether I feel or not, I believe the Scriptures.  I believe God's Word is true and I will stay my soul on it, I will believe in it come what may'."

"If you want to be truly happy and blessed, if you would like to know true joy as a Christian, here is the prescription-"Blessed (truly happy) are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness" -not after happiness.  Do not go on seeking thrills; seek righteousness...Seek for happiness and you will never find it, seek righteousness and you will discover you are happy."

"Put at the center the Only One who has a right to be there, the Lord of Glory, Who so loved you that He went to the Cross and bore the punishment and the shame of your sins and died for you.  Seek Him, seek his face, and all other things shall be added unto you."

So, there you have it.  Don't follow your heart or your gut or your horoscope or your feelings of gloom and despair.  God's Word is true.  And the Truth will set me free.  And the truth for me right now is I need a brief restorative nap and conference call to Heaven.