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North Side Notes

Truth, then Feelings

Posted by Kyle Edwards on

We are unavoidably emotional people. We wouldn't be human without feelings. We would be something akin to the Borg (for you Trekkies), Cybermen (for you Whovians), or simply robots (for everyone else). 

Even so, how we feel, and what's actually true, aren't always in sync. The husband doesn't have to feel butterflies to love his wife. In the moment of strict discipline, the child might doubt his parents' love, not realizing that love is the driving motivation of that discipline. 

Maybe the right attitude to our feelings should be something like the candy store proprietor welcoming in the kid with a sweet tooth and sticky fingers. "Yes, please come in, take a look around. But I'm going to keep my eye on you." 

This is especially true for our faith. This quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones has stuck with me for a few years:

After all, what we have in the Bible is Truth; it is not an emotional stimulus, it 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?

Very well, that is what I regard as perhaps the most important rule of all, that we must not concentrate overmuch upon our feelings. Do not spend too much time feeling your own pulse taking your own temperature, do not spend too much time analyzing your feelings. That is the high road to morbidity.

Think about the ways this plays out. Do you feel God's love? The truth - irrespective of how you feel about it - is that he loved you while you were still a sinner. Do you feel like sticking it out and obeying? Maybe you should drop how you feel about it from consideration and obey anyway. 

Without hearts we wouldn't be human. Even so: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" Feelings change. Feelings deceive. God's truth doesn't. 

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