DayBreaks for 9/06/18: Great Liars
From the DayBreaks Archive, September 2008:
I have recently had a very precious sister in the Lord tell me that she wouldn’t be coming to church anymore because she felt the Lord was calling her to a time of withdrawal and study. I must say, I’m perplexed.
I know people who, when I call them, will tell me that they just didn’t “feel” like going to church on the Sunday past. I must say, I’m perplexed.
I know people who see someone in need but will pass them by, and if asked why, will respond with something along the line of “I didn’t feel led to help.” I must say, I’m perplexed.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be. For in all those instances, and hundreds more that could be spelled out, people these days seem to be more interested in their “feelings” about things than about God’s commands. We might be tempted to say, “It would be dishonest for me to go to a place of worship and praise God when I don’t feel like it. I would be a hypocrite.” Yet, when I look at Psalm 122: 4 (NIV), the motivation that Israel was to have to go up to the temple to worship was not because they FELT like it, but because it was according to God’s COMMAND: That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.
In his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson said this: “I have put great emphasis on the fact that Christians worship because they want to, not because they are forced to. But I have never said that we worship because we feel like it. Feelings are great liars. If Christians worshiped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship. Feelings are important in many areas but completely unreliable in matters of faith. Paul Scherer is laconic: ‘The Bible wastes very little time on the way we feel.’
“We live in what one writer has called the ‘age of sensation.’ We think that if we don’t feel something there can be no authenticity in doing it. But the wisdom of God says something different: that we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship.”
Pause now for a few moments of reflection. As you look at your life and your activities – do you determine what you will do based on how you feel, or on what God’s Word decrees?
PRAYER: Holy God, forgive us for letting our feelings become conditions on obeying Your commands! Let us be led not be our feelings, but by all Your truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.