Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Confessions of a Reformed Feeler: Part 3

  noun \thē-ˈä-lə-jē\
: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience : the study of God and God's relation to the world
: a system of religious beliefs or ideas

No pussy footing around tonight.  I am a feeler so I can say bold and potentially controversial things about feelers.  Here’s one:

The reason that feelers often struggle with life is because they have bad theology. 

It’s true.  When I was in the height of my feeling-worshipping days, I often believed God WASN’T good. I would have never spoken those words, or really even consciously contemplated them in my brain, but my behavior showed that my theology was skewed. 

The reason high feelers have bad theology is this: their feelings are often contrary to the Truth of God’s Word.  Let me show you:

God says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

But the feeler says, “God must not be working for my good because these things FEEL bad to me.  Conclusion:  God is not good this time.

God says [He] will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

But the feeler says, “God can’t really meet all of my needs.  I FEEL like I need a person to do that.”  Conclusion: God is not enough for me. 

God says Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

But the feeler says, “I can’t help the way I am.  I FEEL like I will never be able to change.”  Conclusion:  Christ’s spirit doesn’t really give me new life.”

What happens when the feeler reads God’s Truth but interprets it according to his feelings is this: his feelings reign supreme and God is called a liar.  When the feeler decides that what he feels is reality, rather than using his mind to capture those rogue thoughts, he allows fuzzy thinking—rather than God’s Word--to be his ruler.  This incorrect thinking leads to a wrong view of God and a self-focused worldview. 

One of my favorite theologians is A.W. Tozer.  I really like A.W. because he helps me keep my head on straight and my feelings in line.  A.W. once said What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” So true.  If I color God by the way I feel about Him, I am showing how little I understand His character.  My theology should be formed by the reality of God’s proven character—His omniscience, His immutability, His sovereignty, His righteousness--not by the auspices of my deceptive and deceitful heart.

But, on the other hand, when I learn about the amazing God we serve and study His attributes, I am blown away by His greatness, His holiness, His God-ness, and I realize how wobbly my “feeler-driven theology” really is.  In my shallow-mindedness, I am trying to personify Jesus to be like a faulted human—like me-- when really He is like nothing I could ever imagine.  He is far better than that.
When I weigh my feelings against His character, I find myself to be sorely lacking-- embarrassed by my petty beliefs and shamed by my view of the Father. 

And when I learn Who God truly is and I understand who I truly am, I am in awe of His graciousness toward me.  I realize that He, indeed, is strong enough.

This submission process includes sitting long and lovingly at His feet, learning of His character directly through His Word and through good books like The Knowledge of the Holy (A.W. Tozer) and The Holiness of God (R.C. Sproul) and Lies Women Believe (Nancy Leigh DeMoss), and studies like Breaking Free by Beth Moore.  It includes self-talk that sounds like craziness to the thinker but which transpires either audibly or silently like this, “I feel like God has abandoned me, but the Truth is that God says He will never leave me nor forsake me”(Deuteronomy 31:6) and “I feel like snapping at my husband because he was insensitive, but the Truth is that no unwholesome words are to come out of my mouth, but only what is helpful…”(Ephesians 4:29).  Obviously, this thinking with Truth can only happen if I have exposed myself to Truth by frequent study and memorization.  Memorization is so important for the feeler.  It is the way that I have found to fend off the flaming arrows (disguised as strong and influential feelings) of the evil one (Ephesians 6).

So there you have it folks, we feelers have a lot of work to do, but through God’s power, we are able.  Our feelings were created to give God—not ourselves—glory and if we use them--not HIM-- as our compass, we will fail.  Feelings, like everything else, can be beautiful and wholesome and God-like, but only when they are submitted to God Himself.  We feelers are not mistakes God failed to correct.  We are a reflection of a facet of His very personality.  And when we use our feelings to enhance and enlarge our view of His Kingdom rather than to build our own little worlds, He will give us the joy we so crave.  Stay tuned.

Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

1 comment:

  1. Right exactly on target! :) Thanks for the book recommendations. I've already decided after Christmas I am going to do Breaking Free. I am reading "Who I am in Christ" by Neil Anderson right now and it is really good for this topic, too.