So this is the fourth sin tendency of women and the last I’m going to walk through…unless… you guys tell me some more to process through!
4. The Sin of Over Emotionalism
Crying right now as I write this. Just kidding. Not that it would be wrong. Crying is not wrong. Okay. I should start over.
Proverbs says that the heart is deceitful above all else, and that the Lord will ‘try the reins’ of our hearts. So, I’m going to define over emotionalism as a heart without reigns. The assumption of this verse is that with the knowledge that our hearts can be sneaky, you and I should not work for our hearts, our hearts should be guided by some sort of wisdom and reason in us.
Women seem to have the gift and the ability to feel things deeply. They seem to be able to make a connection between a truth and their hearts almost instantaneously, and I’m going to argue in a minute that this is one of the most precious things about women. The thing is though, when these hearts run our lives without any reigns held by the truth, we are in trouble.
Here are two things I’ve seen happen when our hearts are calling the shots:
1. Apathy or Disinterest in truth. This is the tendency we have to avoid things that speak to our minds and not our hearts. We find that our interest in God is based on how He makes us feel, so worship (when it’s good) on a Sunday is great, but if it’s the wrong worship leader, we’ll leave because we just don’t feel it when he sings. Our worship of God becomes contingent on how we feel. Or, we’ll listen to someone else (like Matt) unpack the Bible, but we’re not going to read it ourselves because ‘we never get anything out of it’.
We tell ourselves that we can just love God and not worry about all that weird ‘theology’ stuff that some people care about. This produces a crop of women who have zero love for the deep things of God, are not based in truth and therefore are unable to speak wisdom or truth, fight sin effectively, and most importantly it produces a crop of women who are unable to know (and therefore really love) God.
Jesus died so that we might know God, so that we might have a relationship with Him. It’s not cute or sweet to not care about the doctrines our God loves. If I sat down with my husband one night and shared with him that I wanted to tell him something about myself which might be hard for him to hear, and he responded ‘babe, I love you but I just don’t need to know about you’, most of you would call that inconsistent. But that’s what we do with God. He has died so that we might know who He really is, but most of us just look at Him and say – ‘I love you, I don’t want to hear about that though.’
God is ready and able to teach you about Himself. Open the word and trust that even when you don’t ‘feel’ an amazing response, God is at work. If you’re not sure where to start, ask someone. If that sounds terrifying than remember that your insecurity and your feelings shouldn’t control your relationship with God. Knowing God is the only thing out of all the things you fill your days, months and life with that really matters.
2. Being led by feelings. This is when we are led by feelings instead of truth in the decisions we make and the paths we choose: who we date, where we go to school, how we spend our alone time, what movies we watch… Shortly after I was first a Christian I became involved with a non-beliving guy. Great guy. Didn’t love my Jesus. But when I was with him we would have amazing conversations about God and about faith and I was sure I could feel God’s presence. I cared about him, and I didn’t believe those feelings could come from anywhere but God.
Looking back – I can see that I wanted something and I used my feelings as a justification for why I should pursue that thing, but at the time it was really hard to see what was true. My feelings made it impossible to know what was right.
There’s a reason God wants to test the reins of our hearts. Because we should have some reins. We should know that our hearts are deceitful. God speaks through His word. He does that because our hearts are sneaky and susceptible. There are other forces in this world that hold sway over our hearts and they can’t be trusted.
I’ve had the ‘feeling’ that the guy I was dating was the guy I was going to marry maybe 5 times. Two options: 1. God gave me that feeling and lied. 2. I was wrong.
Based on what the Bible teaches about God’s faithfulness and my sinful heart, I’m gonna go with number two.
You have to know that your heart can be wrong. You have to lead it with truth or it will lead you into places you don’t want to go.
Now, this is important: all of our weaknesses are generally our strengths used against us. So, when I first learned that my heart was evil, my response was to despise feelings. I didn’t want anything to do with emotions. I would ‘obey, no matter how I felt’.
But listen up gang. That’s impossible. Obedience without feeling is disobedience. God cares about our hearts and He longs to redeem our emotions. There are a billion places in Scripture where we are commanded to ‘feel’ a certain way. Therefore, if we throw the feelings out, we will render obedience impossible.
Feelings matter. God doesn’t want children who know the truth, but don’t love it and feel it. He wants you to delight in Him, enjoy Him. He wants you not just to pursue holiness, but prefer holiness! He calls us to enjoy purity because it’s His kindness to us. He wants us to hate our cold hearts that don’t feel as much as we hate those emotions that call us to be slaves.
- which end of the spectrum do you fall on? have you renounced feelings or are you a slave to them? Spend some time repenting for either one.
- when was the last time you had an emotional outburst? Did you feel entitled to that outburst or have you repented?
- do you press into the deep things of God? If not, why not? what are some things you can do this week to be more intentional?
- are you making any decisions based purely on your feelings? Below is a good way to test your decision:
- Is there anything in the Bible that prohibits or challenges your behavior?
- Sit down with 3-4 people in your close spiritual community. Do any of them have any hesitation about what you’re doing?
- Pray for God to change your heart and to lead it in truth. Do you have a peace? Is this not only acceptable, but the BEST way you can think of to glorify God?
If any of those 3 questions don’t come up with favorable answers I would stop. If number 1 is a yes – you are in sin. If number two is a yes, don’t ignore or overlook or rationalize away your biblical community. they were put in your life for just such a time as this. If you’re not in a situation yet, get 3-4 people around you and develop such deep relational trust that when they speak – you listen.
Our feelings do matter – they just aren’t in the driver’s seat.
Our God has emotions and He feels things deeply. Women are this amazing reflection of that. We care, we are compassionate, our hearts break. And God delights in that. He give us new hearts, that are able to seek Him in the midst of their feeling and sculpt those emotions into honoring reflections of His own heart.