“We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes…” (Isaiah 59:10a)
It could be said of blind people that much of their lives is dependent upon feeling; but surely, this should not be the testimony of the seeing. Yet, I’m afraid this is the default setting for many people today, even Christians. They simply feel their way through this life. They’re led by their hearts and sustained by their emotions. This would be all well and good if feelings could always be trusted; but the truth is, feelings are the least reliable and most shallow of our means of perception and information. And, ironically enough, they can be extremely poor indicators of the presence of God.
Perhaps the most obvious area where our feelings like to claim first place is in relationships. Those people who make us feel good about ourselves, can become inordinately important to us, to the point that we lose good judgment. No one wants to be around someone who discourages or belittles him or her; but neither should we faun over the one who inflates our ego or always makes our heart flutter. Rather than shunning someone who has “hurt our feelings,” we should be more wary of the person who dulls our Spiritual sensibilities or offends God and the Bible, no matter how good he or she makes us feel. It is the wise man or woman who grasps the significance in the truth of Proverbs 28:23. “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.”
If this true in the realm of relationships, it’s doubly true when it comes to religion and God. The two disciples who encountered the risen Savior on the Emmaus road did not experience burning hearts until after Jesus opened the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:32). Any feelings we have that cannot be validated by Scripture, have no credibility beyond but our own sense of infallibility; which, like it or not, lies within the bosom of us all. Choosing a belief system should not be based on how it makes you feel. Such feelings should be highly suspect, no matter how deep or moving they may be.
In the lovely, ocean front town of Carmel-by-the Sea is the beautiful, ornate Carmel Mission. The beauty of this old, magnificent church gives one a distinct sense of awe, and many who go inside feel compelled to kneel at the breath-taking altar at the front, to pray before the images there. If my own faith were dependent on icons and beautiful surroundings, I, too, would be moved. Instead, the beauty seems cold and forbidding to me, when I realize that in the end, it hides the beauty of Jesus Christ and stifles the authority of His Word.
If you or I have nothing to follow but our hearts and no compass but our feelings, we must be blind, either because we have never been spiritually enlightened in the first place, or simply because we will not see. The Old Testament tells us God’s Word is a lamp for our feet to follow (Psl. 119: 105), and Jesus claimed to be the Light of the World in the New Testament (John 8:12); but we can be blind to both of them because of sightless eyes or closed ones. Either way, feeling and groping is a sad and dangerous way to go through life.
“If your feelings are contrary to the Light, follow the Light.” – Bob Jones, Sr.