Not what you feel but why you feel

In anchored emotions we examined emotions and how they influence us. The major point of that article was that we should anchor ourselves to the joy and peace of the Lord. But how should we think of other emotions? The major problem in society is that what is heralded as the truth is what you feel. Of course, doing what you feel leads down the road to hedonistic tendencies of lust, gluttony, pride, sloth, wrath, envy and greed. However, the real question lies in examining why you feel a certain way. So let’s take a look at an example.

  1. I know that I will feel good if I sit down and eat junk food.
  2. However, I know that God calls me to be a good steward of His temple of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Even though eating healthy is difficult and the foods may not taste as good, I know that I will feel good about eating healthy.
  4. Therefore, eating healthy delays a temporary pleasure for a pleasure that is gratifying in two aspects — I am able to exert self control, and I am able to please God.

Likewise,

  1. I know that I will feel good if I sit down and don’t workout.
  2. However, I know that God calls me to be a good steward of His temple of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Even though working out is difficult and I may get sore, I know that I will feel good about working out.
  4. Therefore, working out delays a temporary pleasure for a pleasure that is gratifying in two aspects — I am able to exert self control, and I am able to please God.

In the above examples, if you looked through them did you see anything that was missing?

In the fundamental nature of Christianity, free will and the ability to be tempted is at the core of human nature. Freedom in Christ means that we can consider the actions and consequences of them, and overcome our sinful desires. The thing to keep in mind is that we’re always tempted to gratify the nature of the flesh, and the flesh is about the here and now and the self. However, the Spirit is about things eternal and it is focused outwardly.

The thing that is often witnessed in the internal battle in ourselves is the nature of how our actions reflect outwardly on our character. If we truly desire to be witnesses for Christ, what will make a better witness?

The Christian who gives in all the time to junk food or the Christian who is able to exert self control to eat healthy?

The Christian who gives into idleness and sloth or the Christian who disciplines his mind and body to workout?

Or how about…

  • The Christian who continues to fall into lust or the Christian who can master his lust?
  • The Christian who continues to fall into wrath or the Christian who can master chastity?
  • The Christian who continues to fall into gluttony or the Christian who can master showing self control or temperance?
  • The Christian who continues to fall into greed or the Christian who can master showing charity and by extension love?
  • The Christian who continues to fall into envy or the Christian who can master showing kindness?
  • The Christian who continues to fall into pride or the Christian who can master showing humility?
  • The Christian who continues to fall into sloth or the Christian who can master showing diligence?

You’ll notice that many of these are fruits of the Spirit, and that they will be evident through our actions. Thus, the nature of Christianity is outwardly focused because we are not just of ourselves.

The outward focus provides a measure of meaning to the inward battle that is waged inside our bodies against the desires of the flesh.

To truly know what we feel, we must first consider why we feel that way and the consequences of acting in that particular way. And from there we can overcome temptation.

Jeremiah 17:9 (NASB) “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Don’t follow your heart. Don’t follow what you feel. Consider why you feel and the nature of an intended action, and focus your vision not just inward but outward.

For it is the same measure by which you pour out that God will give back to you (Luke 6:37-38).

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One Response to Not what you feel but why you feel

  1. Chad says:

    Good post.

    Mortification of the flesh, to me at least, is one of the easier disciplines. Healthy food, staying active, and cold showers go a long ways. Keeping your thoughts and words in line is much, much harder.

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