Facts or Feelings? (1 John 3:20)

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How colorless life would be without emotion! Think of a party without the spontaneity of laughter, a funeral without the shedding of tears. The music of Bach, Beethoven, and Handel would fall on stoical ears. A magnificent performance by a symphony orchestra would evoke no applause. Emotion is part of life’s texture and in itself is good, but it is not a reliable guide to morals and truth. For that, we must always depend on the Word of God. One popular song says, “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right.” That’s dangerous!

It we have trusted Christ as our Savior, certain facts remain constant regardless of our fluctuating moods.

Feeling says, “I am sinful, lost, condemned.”

Fact replies, “We are justified by faith(Romans 5:1).

Feeling says, “I can’t face my responsibilities.”

Fact replies, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me(Philippians 4:13).

Feeling says, “I’m lonely and afraid.”

Fact replies, “I will never leave you(Hebrews 13:5).

The apostle John recognized that feelings can misrepresent facts. He said that loving in deed and in truth is how we know we belong to Christ (1 John 3:18-20). One translation says this is “how we can set our hearts at rest … whenever our hearts condemn us,” or when we feel lost.

God has given us a full range of emotions. But if our feelings run contrary to the truth – that facts of God’s Word – we must not rely on them. – Dennis J. De Haan

Sometimes on the Rock I tremble,

Faint of heart and weak of knee;

But the steadfast Rock of Ages

Never trembles under me. – Anon.

Feelings are no substitute for facts and faith.

  • May 21, 1988, Our Daily Bread
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