Feelings, Worry, and Faith

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34 (NLT)

Often, people who struggle with fear, worry and anxiety react rather than thinking. Emotional reactivity becomes the habitual response of being a “worrywart.” They have trained themselves to respond with the feelings of worry and anxiety and have done it for so long they do not know how to respond differently. 

Feelings are a normal part of life but they ought not to control our lives.

The feelings that result from fear, worry and anxiety feel bad. Did you know that your feelings are actually indicators of what is going on inside in the heart (inner-man). Read this next sentence slowly and carefully-

Your feelings are actually by-products of your thinking.

Making a distinction between what you believe and what you feel is critical because your attitudes reflect your inner beliefs about self and your problems.

Our feelings are a part of our emotional package and part of our cognitive processes (which are our ability to think, reason, and communicate).  Disturbed feelings may be the first indication that there is a problem (Matt. 6:34).  When we experience distressing feelings it may be the result of sin we have committed (Ps. 38:3-10; Gen. 4:6-7).

For example, David (often a heroic example for sinful issues) sins with Bathsheba. In Psalm 38 we learn of David’s distress because of his sin. There is a cause (adultery)-effect  (distress) on his emotions.

Another example would be Cain in Gen. 4:6-7. Cain disobey's God about the kind of sacrifice he is to bring to God and brings an offering of his own choosing.  God rejects his offering and Cain becomes angry at God, and then angry at his brother Abel who is held up as the example. Rather than being repentant for his disobedience, Cain is angry at God and murders Abel even though his own sin is the cause of the rejection. 

Also on the negative side, a person can feel happy and be involved with unrighteous deeds (Ex. 32).  Do you recall the story of the golden calf?  While Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments the newly freed Hebrew people had Aaron fashion an idol of gold to worship.  Once it was done they had a wild party full of debauchery. Apparently their feelings of happiness were connected with their sin!

It is the same today when a woman tells me how happy she is in her illicit relationship.  This illustrates how emotions cannot be trusted as truth. Emotions and feelings result from what goes on in the heart. 

Do you find yourself obeying or living by your feelings? If so, then I suspect that your life is unstable, and that you often find yourself living in a see-saw emotional upheaval, never knowing how you are going to feel next.  This is a difficult way to live and not at all glorifying to God.

You are not to be mastered by anything, including feelings and emotions. You are to be ruled by the Holy Spirit of God. Allow Him to be your guide rather than those feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety. Trust that God is completely aware of all that encompasses your life and that He is working in and through your circumstances.