Feelings Can Be Deceivings

W. Terry Varner
October 1, 2017

Have you ever had the false sense of security? By this we mean, we feel unsatisfied with our state, but we continue onward either not changing, refusing to change, or not knowing how to change direction.

Centuries ago Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, proclaimed that “it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). From His words, as well as a host of other Scripture, each should recognize the possibility of being mislead by his emotions or feelings.

Jesus Provides Freedom. In John 8, the Pharisees, who not unlike many today, thought themselves free and in no need of the freedom that is found in Jesus. After telling the Pharisees they would die in their sins unless they obeyed Him (cf. John 8:24), they asked who He was (John 8:25). When Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), they said their being Abraham’s children that they were always free (cf. John 8:33). They were satisfied in their present condition as keepers of orthodoxy (Law of Moses) and they felt no need for change in their life. Their feelings (emotions) were set, not in seeing and seeking if He was the Messiah, but in their own self-justification, self-satisfaction, and hatred for Jesus and His way.

Illustrations Abound Concerning the Deceitfulness of Our Feelings. Examples of deceitfulness abound in the Scriptures. The prophet of God in 1 Kings 13, Saul or Tarsus (apostle Paul) in Acts 26, Jacob when he believed and felt that Joseph was dead (cf. Gen. 37), etc. History likewise produces many examples of the deceitfulness of our feelings or emotions. Hundreds were lost when the “unsinkable” Titanic sank on her maiden voyage. Banks dissolved during the depression and many who trusted in their money committed suicide. Man’s feelings and human emotions are extremely deceiving.

An element concerning our feelings that is so fatal is that while in error one can feel the same comfort and security zone as one who follows the truth. This feeling often precludes any serious additional search for truth. For example, within the religious world when one obeys some rather ambiguous command about salvation, he is told to “just believe,” “surrender to Jesus,” to say “the sinner’s prayer,” etc. This is not to minimize the importance of faith, surrender, etc. But these within themselves do not constitute what the Bible teaches about how to be saved. Sometimes we forget that salvation and forgiveness is from obeying the commands of God and not our man s feelings or emotions. Man’s feelings are not concrete commands to be obeyed.

Commands regarding our salvation and forgiveness are not nebulous and based on our feelings or emotions. Rather for one to become a Christian he must manifest an obedient faith in God (cf. Heb. 11:1) which includes our believing “that God raised Him [Christ] from the dead” (Rom. 10:9), a penitent heart (Luke 13:3, 5), a tongue that confesses Jesus as Lord (cf. Matt. 10:3-33), and we are baptized for the remission of sins (cf. Acts 2:38). After baptism into Christ (cf. Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-29), God expects the Christian to serve Him with love and obedience. We are to love God with the totality of our being and our fellowman (neighbor) as we love our self (cf. Matt. 22:37-40). It becomes extremely difficult, but not impossible, to reach with the truth those who trust in their present self-satisfaction and their clear conscience. It is imperative that we search the Scriptures daily and do what God expects (cf Acts 16:11).