Proverbs 1:1-7: “for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— 6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
When I was in the 7th grade a popular song on the radio was called “Feelings” by Morris Albert. “Feelings, nothing more than feelings. Trying to forget my, feelings of love.” Of course, the lyrics were about a lost love and the pain and misery that accompanies such; but, it always made me think of these verses. I had a Sunday School teacher who put “feelings” into a context of which I never forgot. As an illustration, she brought a huge back of stuff to our classroom. Candy bars, cotton balls, colors, shoes, jewelry, pictures of cars and boats – you name it – it was in the bag! She asked us to write down as she held the items up, “I love it! or I like it! or I don’t like it! or I hate it!” It didn’t take long to realize we love snicker bars, pizza, our Moms, corvettes; it was almost comical what we valued and loved and expressed as such equally.
My teacher expounded on feelings. She talked out feeling some days like we didn’t want to go to school or make-up our bed or be nice to someone or go to church. She talked about feeling grumpy one day and happy the next; feeling angry in the morning and content in the afternoon; feeling tired in church and energized at the baseball game only a few hours afterwards.
What was her point? She wanted us to realize that many of us dictate our decisions by our feelings. We are mad at a friend and allow the first thoughts in our minds out of our mouths. We don’t feel like going to church, we stay home. We equate our love for a new car with our love for our family. But feelings cannot be the gauge for which we base our actions and decisions. Respect for the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, meaning, we must go to Him for direction and guidance.
When I am overwhelmed by emotion, I pray. I tell God that this is what I am feeling. I do not live by my feelings because my feelings are very fickle. Then, I ask Him to fill me with His knowledge to do what is right and not what I “feel” like doing. I pray He will guide me to His Word so that I might read first hand what He expects from me. When we are disciplined and self-controlled, we are rational and able to see clearly what God says for us to do; when we are raw with emotions, we make errors which can cause severe consequences. Always, seek God first. Put your emotions on the back burner. Feelings are nothing more than just that – feelings. Don’t base your life on them.