Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 2

4 Dec

In my last post, I began to address a certain issue that I’ve noticed has been coming up more and more recently in Ekklesia521, namely that several people have said something along the lines of: “I know what Christ has done for me intellectually; I know about the Gospel in my head.  The problem is, I don’t feel it in my heart.”

And so, in order to avoid both unhealthy extremes (too much emphasis on experience and feelings on the one hand… and a total lack of it, on the other), I wanted to share a few insights from C.J. Mahaney’s chapter on this particular issue from his book Living the Cross-Centered Life that has been most helpful to me personally on this issue.

In this particular section of the chapter, he presses us to pause and think about how much emphasis we place on our feelings.  Can they be trusted?  Should they be trusted?  Here’s the excerpt:

How Do You Feel?

Have you ever considered how thoroughly most of us live by our feelings today – how feelings-focused we are?  In a typical day, how often do you make decisions and evaluate reality based primarily on your emotions at the moment?

… you’re not alone.

Our common tendency is to habitually begin with the internal, the subjective, the experiential, then use those feelings and impressions to determine what we’ll accept as being objective fact.  We let our feelings tell us what’s true, instead of letting the truth transform our feelings.

For most of us, this isn’t something we practice only while reading a book or hearing a sermon.  We even explain our daily choices by saying, “I feel good about this,” or, “I had a bad feeling about it.”  It’s the fundamental mindset with which we approach practically everything.  It’s how we live.

We’re conditioned to this approach not only by our sin but also by our culture, which incessantly entices us to “follow your heart” and do whatever makes us feel good – along with the flattering assurance that nonstop feeling good is something we absolutely deserve!

It would be fine to follow our feelings if we could always be sure they’re faithful to reality.  But they aren’t; their perspective on reality typically has huge blind spots.  As a result, our emotions are flighty, fickle, and far too easily dominated by any number of influences – spilled coffee at breakfast, a traffic stall when you’re running late, a cutting comment from a coworker.  Our feelings simply cannot be trusted.

In the next post, I’ll post up his thoughts on how we apply this mistaken trust in our feelings to our relationship with God – and how ultimately, by doing so, it does great damage to it.

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2 Responses to “Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 2”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ekklesia521: Undone By Grace » Blog Archive » Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 3 - December 6, 2009

    […] so, in Part 2, we looked at the section of the chapter in which Mahaney began to call into question our tendency […]

  2. Ekklesia521: Undone By Grace » Blog Archive » Putting Our Feelings In Their Proper Place Pt. 4 - December 8, 2009

    […] the previous posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), C.J Mahaney has been helping us identify and expose the idolatry in all of us that prizes […]

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