Live Not By Feelings

A few years ago, after lovingly warning a friend of the dangers of a particular false teacher she was going to see at a conference, she got offended with me and said something along the lines of “Don’t you think I have discernment?? I have the Holy Spirit! I will be able to discern or sense conviction if something’s not right??”

In this instance, my friend was putting an emphasis on what she believed the Holy Spirit was telling her by how it made her feel at the time and calling it discernment and conviction.

Beloved, that is not how we as Christians are to live. We are to walk in the Spirit and the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16) which is found in the Word of God. Relying on our feelings means we are putting our confidence in our flesh, and our flesh will only lead us away from righteousness and God’s truth. Since the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), it can lead us astray if we rely on or try to follow its sometimes emotional leadings. 

If the Word of God has spoken on something, you have been convicted. You don’t need to wait to feel conviction to obey, you have been led by the instruction of God-breathed scriptures to obey. We must search the scriptures to be able to learn how to walk in God’s ways.

Studying the Bible is how our mind is renewed and how we are sanctified as believers. We cannot walk in righteousness by how we feel if something is right or wrong and call it conviction.

I am sure there are ways I am accidentally or unknowingly violating God’s perfect law even though I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit- I still wrestle with a sin nature even as a believer. I must abide in Christ and die to self daily. We abide in Christ through faith by abiding in His Word by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Faith in Christ comes by hearing the Word of God after all:

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word [k]of Christ”

(Romans 10:17, NASB).

Since we cannot fully depend on our feelings to determine if something is sinful or not, we also cannot depend on our feelings to determine if something is true or false either.

In regards to discernment, are you testing against scripture?  That is where we gain knowledge to be able to test all things and judge righteously. We must make sure everything we are hearing preached in the name of Christ lines up with His Holy written Word.

Friends, if I were just to depend on feelings, I would be wrong quite a lot. As believers we do not “sense it in our spirit”…that’s called human intuition.

intuition

nounSave Word

in·​tu·​i·​tion |  \ ˌin-tü-ˈi-shən   , -tyü-  \

Definition of intuition

1a: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference

b: immediate apprehension or cognition

c: knowledge or conviction gained by intuition

2: quick and ready insight

We don’t rely on intuition; we walk in the Spirit, dear ones. 

Unless you are testing what the Holy Spirit is guiding you into by God’s Holy Word, you can’t be certain you aren’t being misled by Satan.

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

(2 Corinthians 11:14, NASB).

Let us stand firm upon God’s Word and trust He has given us all we need in it for life and godliness as we lean upon the help of the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth that conforms us day by day into the image of Christ. 

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What a Friend We Have in Jesus

One morning as I was walking our dog, Samson, tears suddenly started flowing, and I just began to talk to God. It did not take very long for me to realize that what I was wrestling with was the all-too-familiar feeling of rejection. 

I did all I knew to do.

I attempted to break the silence that so easily crept into the friendship, and there’s still silence on the other end.

I can’t make anyone want to have me in their life, and not everyone needs to be in mine, I get that. But I’m still fighting off the feelings that the spirit of rejection so gladly ushers into my heart.

It’s in these moments that I cling to those who embrace me, who accept me, and remind myself that I am loved.

First and foremost: Jesus loves me.

My husband loves me.

My children love me.

My family loves me.

And there are friends that surround me that fight for our relationship.

In moments like this, it is so important to run to the Word of God to replace lies with God’s truth. 

Proverbs 18:24 gives us instruction about friendship:

“A man who has friends [a]must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

Although Proverbs 18:24 doesn’t necessarily say that friend is Jesus, I know that ultimately, He will always be there for me even when everyone else fails me.

Because people will fail us. People will reject us. Even our Christian brothers and sisters- this of which I struggle with understanding the most.

Many people rejected Jesus (and continue to do so), but while He was here on earth, even one of His very own disciples (Judas) rejected Him. And just a couple hours later, another one of His closest disciples (Peter) rejected knowing Him. THREE TIMES.

When we face rejection, we must remember that Jesus had to/has to endure rejection every single day as people turn their back on Him. No matter what, Jesus understands more than anyone what we experience when rejection comes our way. Thank God for Jesus’ forgiveness when we turn our backs on Him; He gives us so many opportunities to repent and make things right in our relationship with Him! Jesus understands and His arms are open wide, ready for us to cry out to Him about our pain of rejection.

If you are dealing with rejection, I want to encourage you that you don’t have to embrace the lies that you are unwanted or unloved. There is a Man who wants to be the closest friend you have ever had in your entire life. Everything could be stripped away from you or everyone in your life may walk away from you, but the Lord’s love for you will always be there.

In Christ, you are made worthy before God and are accepted into His beloved family. The cross is a symbol of God’s great love for you. Jesus died and paid the price for our sin so that we would forever experience a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Without a relationship with Jesus, you’re a sinner in God’s Holy eyes, but embracing Jesus, ushers in the greatest relationship you will ever know from now on into eternity. He wants to walk with you. He won’t reject you and will stick close forever and always. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus! 

In you are wrestling with the pain of rejection, pray this prayer:

Abba Father,

I’m hurting. I don’t want to hold onto this pain.

I want to heal. I choose to forgive.

I want You to bless those who hurt me, even if they don’t want me in their life anymore.

Your Son was rejected, even by You, for a moment, out of love for me. Thank You, Jesus, for being the friend I need who sticks by me no matter what.

I love You. Thank You for always loving me.

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The Warmth of a Friend

Have you ever heard a statistic that just seemed to leave an imprint on your heart?

Recently, I heard someone say that 80% of babies in orphanages die because of a lack of compassionate, physical touch. Being a mom of two little ones, this statement obviously hurts my tender momma heart.

It does not take very long to see our children’s independence start to blossom. Understanding that my little ones won’t always be this small, I try to take advantage of all the cuddles and snuggles that I can get. I know that this has only strengthened my bond with both of my boys. Even medical professionals urge moms of newborns to enjoy times of “skin to skin,” which also aids in mother/baby bonding. Science has proven the release of Oxytocin, the “love drug,” occurs with physical touch and creates a lasting bond between humans.

As I let images of lonely, unloved little ones in those orphanages run through my being, I begin to wonder:

Do we ever outgrow the need for physical connection and affection?

In the age of hyper-technology and social media, we can communicate with anyone and everyone from around the globe, around the clock. It’s obvious that people still enjoy connecting with one another, not just as networking partners, but as friends. Right, Facebook?

But are we truly connected?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV) tells us the value of a friend:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Over the years, I have to admit that I’ve allowed myself to rely on social media and texting to keep my friendships going. Although convenient, I have wondered why I’ve always felt short-changed. The reason is because my friendships on social media — merely texting my friends — will never allow them to pick me up when I fall or hold me when I’m “cold.”

The warmth of a hug or a shoulder to cry on or hands to hold when fervently praying for one another simply cannot be found online. No, we can only find that kind of affection face-to-face, enjoying the physical presence of a beloved friend.

I challenge you to join me in being intentional with physically spending time with our friends. 

Keep that coffee date on your calendar (don’t cancel it again!), go on a shopping trip with your girlfriends (even if it’s just window shopping), or cook dinner with your married friends (and put your phones away and enjoy the conversation during your meal together!).

It’s easy to say we “don’t have the time.” Well, it’s time to invest in our friendships and see them flourish into a lasting bond that could last a lifetime.

And that reminds me of another statistic I heard, one worth striving for: If a friendship lasts longer than seven years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime.

Let’s make it a priority to cultivate those types of long-lasting friendships; not just those we connect with on social media, but those who we can physically connect with on our journey as we grow older alongside one another, walking hand in hand, and holding each other up when we are weak. Let’s be those kinds of friends.


The Warmth of a Friend was first featured on incourage.me.

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