Follow your heart. You are most true to yourself when you are embracing your desires. Your feelings and emotions most accurately identify the real you. It is wrong to deny what you feel most deep inside.
I think this is a fair summary of how many in our culture approach life. Feelings are king. It is assumed that the right thing to do is follow the desires of our inner life, where ever they take us and whatever they tell us to do. We are told that we can’t help what we feel and it is wrong to reject our feelings as the true guide to who we truly are.
We can certainly see this in questions of sexuality and gender. If our feelings lead us in a particular way, we are encouraged by the media and broader culture to give way to their guidance. But, as a Christian, I would argue that such an approach is ruinous, and that there is a better king than feelings.
REJECTING THE REIGN OF FEELINGS
I am not my feelings. My identity is not just how I feel. This does not mean that emotions play no part in considering who I am, but it does mean that feelings are not the sole guide. How we feel and what we desire play a part in shaping our identity, but they are not everything.
Feelings can deceive us. A person can be very competent at a task but feel very unsure of themselves (and avoid doing what they ought to do). Another person can be very inadequate at a task but be very self-assured (and do what they ought not to do). We need a guide greater than our feelings, one more in line with the truth of reality.
Feelings can lead us into disaster. What if we gave into every urge we felt? What if we acted upon every desire that entered our hearts? I know that I would ruin my life daily.
If my feelings are king, then we will live under a cruel tyranny.
JESUS: A BETTER KING THAN FEELINGS
We live in time much like the Book of Judges, where “there was no king in the land” and “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6). God is rejected as king. We have written off his rule. The only morality we submit to is the one we create, one that is guided by what feels right to us.
But there is a better king: king Jesus. Jesus came to save us from our sins (Matt 1:21). He is God in the flesh and His kingdom is real and endures forever. His is a kingdom of love, holiness, and righteousness. Those who come to Christ in faith enter into this real kingdom and come under the kind rule of king Jesus, who is gentle and gives rest to his followers (Matt 11:28-30).
Following Jesus helps us to discern what feelings we ought to embrace and what we ought to reject. As one who never sinned, he is a sure guide to handling our feelings. He is also a help: he helps us in our struggles not to submit to desires that are unholy and he helps us to walk in the light by his strength.
Also, a remarkable thing happens we when follow Jesus: we start to experience new, holy desires, which come about through God’s work in our hearts and by the Holy Spirit. This does not mean we always feel those holy desires or that we never struggle with sinful desires, but we have a new king to help us, and this king has conquered sin and death.
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