The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 28:21-28 To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth And does not know that want will come upon him. He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue. He who robs his father or his mother and says, “It is not a transgression,” Is the companion of a man who destroys. An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. 26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.
Follow your heart.
How you feel is all that matters.
How often have we heard these words spoken by internet counselors, friends, family, and co workers? Every TV show, movie, and feel good segment of the nightly news is filled with these slogans. They sound very nice, non-judgemental, and affirming. This mantra dominates all discussion regarding ethics and morals. Feelings, as cyclical and turbulent as they are, have been exalted to a place of prominence, shoving aside truth, logic, facts, and ultimately the Word of God. Instead of lives built upon concrete, objective truth, we see men and women living out a Baskin Robbins version of reality: 31 flavors to satisfy your desires every day of the month. The end results of this extremely flawed, dangerous, and disobedient thinking are beginning to be seen all around. Men feel that they are women, so they mutilate themselves. Women feel they are being oppressed by men, so they chop off their hair, put on men’s clothing, and cry freedom! Children are being groomed for sexual perversion by hairy chinned men in drag, and it’s called opening your mind and tolerance. Call him a she or you will hurt his feelings. Homosexuality has been successfully passed off as a loving relationship in the culture at large, all the while denying the damaging effects on the human body by physical trauma and disease, not to mention the destruction it wreaks on men's souls. They can’t help who they love, who they have “feelings” for. Young ladies have bought the lie that the boys in their lives love them. They have boyfriends that make them “feel” good, “feel” wanted, and “feel” loved, so they engage in married couple behavior and reap the consequences: unwanted pregnancy, abuse, std’s, abandonment, winding up at the abortion clinic murdering their babies, because they “feel it’s the right thing to do”. Young men are just as culpable. Driven by the lust of the flesh, these undisciplined, disobedient boys will do anything, say anything, and promise anything, to experience the “feeling” of being a man.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered
Here is a news flash. Your feelings do not determine reality. God has defined what reality is. He has ordained the end from the beginning, and despite how absolutely dominated by your feelings you may be, being tossed to and fro, your feelings do not determine what is true. Truth is not subjective. It isn’t fluid. It does not morph, shift, and change like your emotions. Why? Because the source of truth, Jesus Christ the Righteous, is the same yesterday, today, and for all eternity, and He sets the standard for what truth is, because He is the truth. Have you not read in Genesis, that “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”? Why would we trust such a fickle thing like our own heart? How often has your reasoning been wrong? How frequently do your feelings lead you to the wrong conclusion? Brothers and sisters, God has blessed us to be able to experience a wide range of emotions and feelings: joy at the birth of a child, anger regarding injustice, mourning over the loss of a loved one, and marital bliss! But know this fact as well: your flesh, the world, and the devil are at war with you. Your heart, your mind, and all your feelings are a ready made battleground. Satan loves nothing more than to see a man, woman, boy, and girl, enslaved to their emotions. Yes, enslaved. You are either a slave to Christ, or you are a slave to sin, doing the work of your father the devil. Jesus said in John 10 that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”. Do you have abundant life today, or are you enslaved by the shackles of your heart? God, knowing that the heart of man is deceitful and wicked above all else, that we are capable even of self deception, tells us that we are to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.“ When you lean on your own understanding, you will be led down the wide path of destruction, being deceived by ease, comfort, and affirming flowery encouragement. Trusting in yourself, your feelings, your heart, will lead you to the precipice and over the edge, falling headlong into sin. As you continue to be guided by your feelings, led along like a swine with a ring in its snout, falling further and deeper into sin, God may be giving you over to a debased mind to not only do the things you know violate His commands, but also giving approval to others as well. Are your feelings irrelevant? No. Must you discard your emotions and behave as Mr. Spock or a robot? Absolutely not. Does trusting in the Lord mean you must pretend like everything is ok, when maybe it actually isn't? Nope. What the Word of God teaches is that Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, must be the foundation upon which we stand. All other foundations are sinking sand. Are your feelings, heart, and emotions your bedrock this morning? Do your emotions dominate you, shape you, and wear you down as a cruel slave master, or, are you a slave to Christ, who says “Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”?
An analogy to close. Phantom limbs, ever heard of this? It is a syndrome associated with amputees in which people diagnosed with it claim to be able to both feel the missing limb, and experience pain in it, though it is clearly, by every measurable standard, not there. Feelings do not equal reality. As this example shows, feelings are not good indicators of the truth. Trusting your heart, rather than Christ, is foolish, sinful, and the path to ruin. May we remember that Jesus said (Matthew 15:19 NASB)
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders”. Let us kneel and confess the ways, both big and small, in which we trust in our own hearts rather than in our Savior.
Heavenly Father, please be merciful and gentle towards us frail creatures. Father, please grant us clean repentant hearts, and steadfast spirits, which are free from the noise of undisciplined emotions and feelings. Too often we are confronted with trials, people, and situations in life in which we allow our feelings to guide us, rather than Your Truth. Far too often we behave as a people enslaved by the lusts and passions of our hearts, burdened and weighed down, feeling crushed, all the while ignoring Your Son Who says, “Come”. Father, help us to remember that Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and that our emotions allow us to share in others peoples pain, share in joy, share in sorrow, and share in the sufferings of Christ, but that we were not called to be ruled by them. Please forgive us when we elevate our emotions and worship them and bow down to them, rather than You. It’s in Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 1-6-19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church. Written by Joseph Spurgeon.)