Our enemy, the devil, wants to control us, and his target is our will. The main way he tries to influence our will is through lying to us. He’s a liar and the “father of lies” (see John 8:44). This is how it works: He lies, we believe it, the lies affect our emotions, our emotions get stirred up, it affects the decisions we make, and then we get out of the will of God and into a mess.
People live by their feelings more than anything else much of the time. I believe this is true because if you listen, you’ll hear people talk about how they feel more than just about anything else. I wonder sometimes if we’re serving the god of our feelings more than the God of the Bible.
For example, someone says, “I don’t feel God loves me.” Well, He does. Or “I don’t feel I have a future.” Well, you can. The Bible clearly says God loves us and that He has good plans for us. But when we believe the lies the enemy puts in our mind over the Word of God, we will feel like the lies are true and then live like it.
The Danger of Emotional Living
Emotional people make big mistakes when they base decisions on how they feel rather than obeying God and what they know is the right thing to do. We have to learn how to live beyond our feelings and do what’s right even when we feel wrong.
I’m frequently asked how I feel about things. One example is when someone asks, “Joyce, how do you feel about traveling?” I’ve learned not to live by my feelings, so I tell them, “I don’t really ask myself how I feel about it.” You see, if I let my feelings “vote,” I just might decide not to do what I know I need to do. I don’t always feel like traveling, especially on long trips that give me jet lag. And I don’t always feel like staying in a hotel.
But I’ve decided to follow God’s will for my life and not let my feelings dictate what I do. I’ve learned to let what the Bible says dictate my decisions. I’ve set my mind to be a blessing, to walk in love and to make right choices that honor God and keep me in His will for my life.
What Determines How You Live?
Think about it… How often do you say, “I feel like…” or “I don’t feel like…” and then do what you feel? Do your feelings dictate how you treat people? Or what you say? Do feelings run your life?
You may be thinking, Well, I can’t help how I feel! I agree. I can’t help how I feel at times and I’m not going to pretend I’m so holy I don’t feel anything. Emotions won’t go away – we must learn how to manage them and not let them manage us.
There are times when I have felt insecure about speaking before I walk on the platform at a conference. But I decided to trust God and have confidence that He would help me, and when I stepped out to teach, the feelings of insecurity went away. There are times when I’ve been angry with Dave and felt like giving him the cold shoulder, but when I decided to pray and ask God for the grace to forgive him or ask for his forgiveness, I’ve had the ability to treat him the way God wants me to.
The key here is refusing to be passive and making a conscious decision to do what’s right. Being passive means you wait for an outside force to move you or to feel like doing something. Use your will to choose what’s right. And pray for God’s grace to give you the ability to do it.
Learning How to Choose What’s Right
To know what God thinks and wants for us, we have to make the Bible the number one thing in life that guides us. God’s Word is greater than anything I think, want or feel. It’s not enough to hear someone preach a message – you must study the Word.
First, we make a decision to live for God. Then we study, study, study the Bible. Knowing the Truth equips us to recognize the lies from the enemy. Because when they come, we need to be ready to respond with God’s Word, not what we want, think or feel.
There’s nothing better than knowing you’re in the will of God. Choose to be His child and not a slave to your feelings.