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Cult of Feelings

 

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

 

Philippians 1:9

 

Everything, and I mean everything, is based on feelings today. Listen to all the songs, read the books and blogs, listen to broadcasters and bloggers. It’s all about feelings. Getting the right kind of feelings. Looking for that feeling that will make it all worthwhile.

 

Think about the scene between two people. They look intensely into each other’s eyes. They’ve made lifelong commitments to others, but that doesn’t seem to matter. And it’s not important that they continue to fall into and out of a truckload of sexual encounters. As they embrace, one of them says, “It feels so right. How could this be wrong?”

 

Even with sporting events, emotions are now at the front of everyone’s mind. After every football game, announcers and a technical crew run out onto the field for the post-game interview. They turn on the lights and roll the camera. Then the announcer sticks the microphone into the face of a player and says, “What are you feeling right now?”

 

And this kind of thinking, or lack thereof, isn’t restricted to secular sources. Listen to the lyrics from these popular Christian songs.

 

This feeling can't be wrong[1], I'm about to get my worship on.

  • Jamie Grace – Beautiful Day

 

I don't wanna forget How I feel right now

On the Mountain Top I can see so clear what it's all about

Stay by my side When the Sun goes down

  • Elevation Worship & Maverick City – Jireh

 

Now, I’m not saying that the writers and performers are evil, or that the songs don’t say some other encouraging and uplifting things. Not at all. But what I am saying is that the Cult of Feelings has infiltrated the church of Jesus Christ.

 

So, what do I mean by the Cult of Feelings? This is where everything in life is measured by feelings. Every thought and experience are measured by the resulting feelings. And those feelings are always, always, always great. They excite us. They lift us up. We can’t stop smiling, singing, shouting. We have to lift up our hands.

 

Funny thing though, this is the exact opposite of what Paul wants for his dear friends in Philippi. He doesn’t pray for them to feel excited or joyful. His prayer isn’t that they overflow with feelings of ecstasy. He goes in a completely different direction, wanting them to be filled with knowledge and depth of insight.

 

  • Knowledge – this kind of knowledge isn’t stuck away in the attic of the mind, but lived out each and every day. The kind of knowledge that Paul wants the Philippians, and us for that matter, is received in our daily lives. And like Lego’s, they build one on top of another. The knowledge from one practical, daily experience leads to the next. And to the next. And so on. God’s desire is to burn this knowledge into our lives through the daily heat of life. That our lives be build up by our everyday experiences over time. This is the only way that give us the complete assurance of his love. That he is totally trustworthy. That he will never, never, never abandon us. This is the kind of life that he made us for. To be completely confident in him. The one who never changes. The one whose desire to be with us drove him to leave heaven and to the cross. He didn’t come to earth on some vacation or sightseeing trip either. He came to pay the price for our rebellion and sin.

  • Depth of insight – As God gives us great insight and understanding into who he is and his love for us, we’re motivated to speak and act for him. We become his hands, his feet, his voice to out friends as well as our enemies[3]. We will have more than human insight, sensitivity, and power. There will be times when we speak that God will use those words in a significant way in the life of those listening. It will appear to the listener that we know hidden things about them. He will direct our minds and voices to greatly impact lives for Jesus.Most of the time, we really won’t know the significance of our words. God will take our weak understanding and use it in a might way in the lives of others. It won’t be because we’re smart, but because he’s mighty.

 

That’s the kind of love God has for us, and we’re to do the same to everyone we run into. No one said that it was easy, but dying on the cross for us was the hardest thing anyone ever did in the history of the world. Jesus didn’t let his feelings get in the way of paying for all our sins. And we can’t let our feelings get in the way of loving our neighbor as ourselves.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • Are you driven more by feelings or knowing? What makes you say this?

  • What dangers do you experience with both feelings and knowledge?

  • How can we improve our depth of insight?


[3] Matthew 5:43-45

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