Here’s a simple illustration of how Bible truth should take precedence over emotions in your life.
Think of your life like a train.
A train consists of a locomotive and all the railway cars that it pulls. Locomotives can be powered by different kinds of engines, such as steam, diesel, or electricity. Likewise, the locomotive of your life can be powered by different kinds of engines.
For some people, the engine is emotions.
To be sure, God created you with emotions. They’re an integral part of your soul. Emotions are wonderful appreciators that help you enjoy life. Your life is better when you have a full range of positive emotions like joy, hope, awe, confidence, and even fear (Jas 1:2; 2 Cor 6:12; Josh 4:14; 2 Cor 3:4; 2 Chron 19:9). Even negative emotions can be helpful.
Of course, there are some people who are—ironically—afraid of emotions! That may be because of a traumatic childhood or other events in their life. They are suspicious and skeptical and try to eliminate or downplay emotions as much as possible, whether in their personal life or at church. They’ll often dismiss any show of emotion at church as emotionalism. But that’s not a Biblical approach. Emotions are good. We even know that God has emotions because Jesus experienced joy, anger, and sorrow, to give only a few examples (John 15:10-11; Matt 23:33; John 11:33-35).
However, the problem is when emotions become the locomotive of your life. If they are, you might make decisions, evaluate your salvation, and might even think that God gives you special revelation through your feelings, which then become more important to you than Scripture.
And that dependence on emotions creates inner turmoil because while feelings are good, they’re ultimately unreliable. Feelings can help you appreciate the truth but can’t decide what is true. Truth is correspondence to reality, not correspondence to feelings. So, if the locomotive of your life is your feelings, you can expect a bumpy ride!
What’s the alternative? Having your life powered by faith in God’s revelation.
Your feelings might change, but God’s Word is forever. Your feelings can help you appreciate the truth, but God’s Word reveals it.
So, if you’re feeling condemned and discouraged—if you feel like God is far from you, or if you doubt that He loves you, or if you feel unforgiven and uncertain about the future—make sure your emotions aren’t at the front of the train. Put your feelings in the caboose, and let faith do the pulling.
Thought for the day: Stick with the Bible if you want to stay on track.