“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”Matthew 4:4
Feelings will often get the best of you if you allow yourself to be controlled by them. God gave us feelings for a reason, but He never intended us to be controlled by them. We live in a society that is controlled by feelings, and we cancel people who hurt our feelings or don’t agree with us on a particular issue. We call these people names and shun them because our feelings are hurt by them even when it is not personal in nature. I remember my dad telling me many times that I would get my feelings knocked off if I continued to carry them on my shoulders. I could be sensitive to things he said from time to time, but I learned to weigh what he said and not be so quick to have my feelings hurt.
I was living in Chicago when I came to Phoenix one summer to be with my then girlfriend who was graduating from high school. I planned to attend her graduation and then stay about 7 weeks after that to spend some time with her. My mom was against this and I could not understand why, but it makes a lot more sense to me now. I should have known things were not right when my girlfriend said she didn’t know if she could maintain the relationship if I didn’t come for the summer. I know this should have been a red flag for me, but I foolishly caved in to the demand, not realizing the relationship was doomed to end anyhow. I felt like coming to Phoenix was the best decision to make and I acted on those feelings. I did not pray about the decision nor did I seek any godly counsel.
Three weeks after graduation, I learned that my girlfriend had eyes for another and my feelings went in a whole different direction. I sought to find her new love interest and take matters into my own hands, but my cousins would not allow me to do this and drove me around everywhere where they knew he would not be. I was in a rage and controlled by heartache and the need for revenge. My feelings got the best of me, and I am thankful for my cousins who talked sense into me and checked me and my feelings.
I have seen relationships severed and marriages ended because of feelings that were damaged. Marriages end because one person does not have the feelings they used to, or they both don’t feel like they love each other anymore. Sadly, this is the case in some Christian homes and relationships as well. The philosophy of “Just Do It” appeals to our feelings and we sometimes make decisions based on those temporary moments. Our barometer for why we do things should be based on what God says and not on how we feel. My feelings have betrayed me many times, and I have done foolish things because of them. We often need to check ourselves when it comes to making decisions and see if they are from God or if they are our own feelings.
Jesus had not eaten in 40 days and He was tempted with food. I know I would cave in after 40 hours, but He rebuked the devil with the Word of God. He based His decisions on the words that came from the mouth of God, and not on the temporary hunger He was feeling. We would be wise to take the same approach when our feelings began to take over, and seek what God would have us to do. In every situation, there is an answer from the Word of God if we will check ourselves and adhere to what He says.
Where are you today? Are you controlled by your feelings? Do you make decisions based on your feelings or on the word of God? Do you do or not do things based on your feelings or are you focused on doing what God would have you to do? Do you check your feelings or do you allow them to go unbridled only to later regret the decisions you make? May we check ourselves before we wreck ourselves, and may our mantra be, “but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”