Setting Your Feelings On High
Of all the emotions known to man, which is the one you set up on high? It is usually the one you hold to most and is demonstrated by you almost daily.
Think, too, about those who may not understand your feelings. If you mentioned to others about the feeling you hold and express most, they might not understand why you have that feeling. Therefore, you might keep your primary feeling secret. In other words, we set a feeling or feelings in our hearts at such a high level, it not only becomes something others do not understand, it comes to take a sanctified place in our hearts. We exalt it to the highest level. Not only is it difficult to explain to others, but it is something we hold on to, for it is ours. We set our feelings on high: Higher than God.
Can you identify your feelings? Is there a name to it? Is there a reason to have it? Is there justification for expressing it? Having it for so long, why do you exalt it to a high place in your life? Have you become more of what He would have you to be as a result of holding this feeling for so long? Are you hurting yourself since you have adopted this feeling in your life Would it cause your relationship with others to improve if those feelings were torn down and put away? Are you the one who has all these feelings or a particular feeling no one else has and fully believes, wholly believes? Are you in submission to how you feel? Do you say to yourself, “I can’t help how I feel!” Is this how you identify your feelings?
This is not a case of insanity, obsessive-compulsion, mental deficiency, or genetic disposition. Your feelings are there. They exist, and when you cannot define or identify why or how, or when you “can’t help” how you feel, the question is: What should a Christian do?
A Christian needs to think about Go dan dhow God thinks and feels, because we are made in His image. God has designed us with emotions - deep emotions; emotions which are at the center of our thinking. Therefore, if we think about God, we will know how we are to think, the emotions we should have, and the feelings we should express.
God feels deeply, intensely, passionately, and zealously. He “grieved” at the sin of all mankind in Genesis 6.6. “Forty years long” God “grieved with that generation” of His people wandering in the wilderness (Psalm 95.10). “My chosen, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him” (Isaiah 42.1). God rejoices over His people (Zephaniah 3.17). God has a spirit He describes in very, very graphic and intense detail, comparing the unfaithfulness of His people to an adulterous spouse through the experience of Hosea. He compares Himself to a mother full of emotion (Isaiah 49). Scripture is filled with God expressing “how He feels.” He identifies his thinking clearly. He knows and understands why. He is never unsure why or how. God knows the proper way to think. These intense expressions of God’s emotions are not what He “cannot help but feel.” These numerous scriptural terms relate to the Almighty, Magnificent, and Majesty God. This is why a Christian needs to think about God.
The reason we need to think about God and His word is because our experience with feelings is most often not good. Our feelings result in negative attitudes and actions, and are sinful. Sinful feelings at the beginning lead to the sinful feelings continuing over time. These repeated feelings are usually exalted to a sanctified, high place in our hearts, damaging our growth in Christ. All of this causes us to produce more of the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.19-23). Think about this just for a few moments before you continue reading this message.
Of all the feelings you have had, how many of those times have your attitudes and actions been closer to “…idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying…” rather than “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5.20-22)? Honesty would say our feelings are more like the first list than the second one. Therefore, idolatry is usually the sin. We put our feelings upon a high place, and they take a sovereign place in our lives above God.
Consider this example: I’m getting divorced although I have no scriptural ground for divorce. Why am I getting a divorce? I found someone else, and I am in love. I can’t help feeling the way I do. Therefore, I place those feelings supreme and upon a place in my heart higher than God. Fact is, I obey those feelings because they rule higher than God. We do the same thing with anger, lying, or any other lust.
God’s desire for His followers is for them to be under His control, Spirit-filled, and of sound judgment and mind. The apostle wrote, “…casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10.5). Cast out and cast down all the ungodly, sinful feelings which want to be sanctified and exalted in your heart. Replace them with the gracious and godly emotions which imitate God and grow toward who He wants you to be each day. We should rejoice in the Lord always, be angry and sin not, mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice, forgive from the heart, love our neighbors as ourselves, and humble ourselves. These are the God-ordained and commanded emotions we should have.
Remember, the Bible is not only authoritative in telling us how to live, it is authoritative in telling us how to feel and exalt God to His high place. Value God first over the value you place on feelings.