September 29

Feelings, Nothing More than Feelings, Part 3

II Corinthians 5:7a For we live by faith…

Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

John 8:44b [The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

John 17:17b Your word is truth.

Learning how to do spiritual battle in the area of our emotions can be difficult at times. Our usual (good) first step is not letting our emotions lead us to sin. If the emotions are strongly felt and the wounds and weaknesses they touch are deep, this process can take a long time. But love of God and man demands that we do that. (It’s also a blessing to us in the long run.)

But God has more wisdom in mind for us in this arena, and more victory, and that is “filling the gap” with His truth. When we are hit by strong negative emotions, our first instinct is to withstand them (a normal survival move). As we do that and step back to try to make sense of what happened, a certain gap forms between us and our emotions. It’s in that space that the battle takes place.

As we get back our equilibrium—and this can take seconds or days, depending on the type of emotional storm we’re experiencing—the enemy usually comes in to fill that gap with a variety of lies that he tries to pass off as our own thinking. His usual intention is to have us judge others or ourselves with these thoughts, or worse, come to a judgment against the Lord Himself. If he can make us believe the lies, and buy into them as our own thoughts, he’s won the battle. If we fill the gap with enough lies enough times, we form a series of related thoughts that we go to regularly when we’re struggling emotionally. It’s good to resist them in terms of our behavior, but it’s even better to replace them.

This is why we need to be soaked in God’s word, and walking close enough to Jesus to hear His voice. When we step back after an emotional attack, and the gap forms, we should resist the enemy’s voice and realize that we are being tempted to sin in some way. Instead of accepting his thoughts (remembering that no matter what he says, he is the father of lies), we can fill the gap with faith, speaking God’s word instead. That makes us godly masters of our feelings, and not slaves.

God’s word is truth, and it’s imperative that we cling to truth when we are attacked in our feelings. As we empty the various “gaps” in our lives of the lies of the enemy and replace them with God’s truth, His peace and joy replace the pain of the former emotions, and we grow stronger in His grace. This is part of “keeping our hearts with all diligence” (Proverbs 4:23), and is more than walking in faith; it’s leaping in faith.

Prayer: Lord, teach me how to replace the familiar lies that the enemy has embedded in my heart and mind through emotional attacks. Help me to replace them with Your word, which is truth. Thank You for the grace and strength to do that.