Too often, we allow our feelings to dictate our perception of God. When our lives are going well, we rejoice. We feel happy when we’re prospering at our jobs and relationships. During these times of bounty, we tend to view God as loving, benevolent, merciful and interested in our lives. When events in our lives change to undesirable or difficult circumstances, our outlook and perception negatively changes. Not only is this detrimental to our spiritual lives, but it devalues God and brings no glory to our Great Savior, Jesus Christ.
First Truth: God does not change. His character is the same throughout the ages. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever." The Truth about Him revealed in the Bible will never change!
Second Truth: our feelings and emotions are unreliable for guidance or decision making. Do we make important decisions such as marriage, career or even buying a house based on a temporary feeling at that particular moment? Then why would we determine something as crucial as our perception of God on a feeling? A life lived based solely on feelings will never experience peace or security. Life based on feelings will be one tremendously out of control roller coaster. So how does one avoid this unstable way of living based on our feelings?
First, you must CHOOSE to believe the Truth regardless of how you feel. You must CHOOSE to trust Christ and His character irrespective of your feelings. The Bible abounds with truths revealing God's character. Search out those Scriptures and write them down on a 3x5 card. Keep them handy with you. When those feelings arise that tempt you to believe anything that contradicts God's truth, pull our your card and read it ALOUD! For example, Hebrews 13:5 says, "Be content with such things as you have have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'." When you feel like God has forsaken you, pull out your card and read Hebrews 13:5 aloud.
Second, remember God has provided for your every need so we can be content in all circumstances. I don't have to remind you that our circumstances quickly change. Grounding ourselves in the truth that God can supply every need despite circumstances limits the power feelings have on our outlook. Paul, who was intimately acquainted with suffering and changing circumstances said he learned to be content in all things. Whether he was sick or well, rich or poor, imprisoned or free, shipwrecked or safely on land, he learned to be content regardless. How? Because Paul knew that Christ provided for every need. As we pursue a personal relationship with Christ, He gives an abundance of all we need for life, including strength, wisdom, hope, faith and so much more!
Another secret of Paul was to give thanks for everything - even during hard times. As difficult as it is to thank God during difficult situations or pain, it radically changes our outlook. Again, this limits the power negative feelings have over our lives. When we encounter hardships, we can rely on Him and THANK Him for His provision and care - regardless of our feelings!
We will all experience hardships and pain. But not all of us will respond the same. Either we can react based on our feelings and as a result, live in constant frustration. Or, we can choose not to submit to our feelings and choose to believe God's truth. Then, we will begin to know Him in a new and powerful way that will radically change our lives. I encourage those today who are sitting in darkness and pain. Choose to trust Christ and rely on Him rather than trusting in and relying on your feelings. You will not be disappointed!