The Danger of Peace, Imperfect Peace

Often times when a discussion is had between individuals who are on “opposite sides of the fence” about topics pertaining to salvation, key doctrinal differences and even Jesus himself, one side of the dialogue can be quick to defend his or her belief on the basis of the “peace” that is felt within one’s heart.

For example:

  • when discussing the merits, or rather the lack-thereof, of the sinner’s prayer one may defend their affirmative belief because of the peace that they felt after saying such
  • when discussing the merits, or rather the lack-thereof, of the book of Mormon one may defend their affirmative belief because of the peace that they felt after reading such
  • when discussing the merits, or rather the lack-thereof, of the confession booth one may defend their affirmative belief because of the peace that they felt after admitting such

While peace is an important, dare I say even vital, aspect of Christianity, if the truth were told, as it is now, one’s feeling of peace does not always equate to one’s possession of said peace.

Examples of this are abundant within the pages of God’s word. From the cultural mindset of the antediluvian time period (Matthew 24:37-39), to the prophets and people of Jeremiah’s day (Jeremiah 14:10-15), to the willfully ignorant religious individuals that Peter warned about (2 Peter 3:1-12) there has always been and there will always be people who promote the importance and supposed validity of personal peaceful feelings above the true importance and true validity of knowing the peace that comes from possessing a right relationship with the God of the Bible.

Peace, imperfect peace originates from ignorance, self-fulfilled desires and seared consciences; all of which derive from one’s personal feelings (Proverbs 14:12).  Peace, perfect peace originates from knowledge, the fulfillment of godly expectations and the directions of a properly trained conscience; none of which derive from one’s personal feelings (Philippians 4:6-7).

The point is that the human heart can be confused and contorted to the point of severe and deadly deception resulting in a feeling of justification regardless of the heart’s error (Jeremiah 17; 2 Thessalonians 2; 1 Timothy 4). This is why true peace is found in knowing, regardless of the ebb and flow of human emotions, that all things are as they should be because all things have been made as they will be by the revealed grace of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Peace, perfect peace is quite different from peace, imperfect peace! So may it be the goal of every God-seeking individual to know the Prince of Peace in a way that the peace of God is not something we feel, but rather something that we have received through the gift of God.

As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!” Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you you and your children within your walls – and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”” (Luke 19:37-44 – NET)

#christian-peace, #false-peace, #feelings, #guidance, #heart-feelings, #prince-of-peace

Feelings Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Many people rely solely upon how they feel when it comes to their relationship with God and the salvation that is offered through Jesus. Feelings alone work no better than faith alone! One may say that’s not true, but I ask have you not read:

So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.” (Genesis 27:22-23 – NKJV)

What did Isaac rely upon in this situation? He relied upon his feelings! He knew the voice didn’t match, but he chose to rely upon the sense that could be tricked instead of the sense that knew better.

I don’t know about you but I’ve sat in Isaac’s shoes before. I still find myself in Isaac’s shoes from time to time when it comes to making an important decision. I may want to do this, but I know that. I want to have hope in something or someone, but I find that the facts get in the way. Feelings and facts don’t have to be opposed, but when we choose feelings over facts we choose the opposite of what we should.

In matters of the faith it matters what we rely upon. Doing what’s right in our eyes doesn’t always equate to doing what’s right in the eyes of God. If we were more willing to allow the facts of the faith to shape our feelings about faith then maybe our feelings about the faith wouldn’t try to change the facts (Romans 1:16-17, Galatians 1:6-9, Jude 3).

Why do we have the word of God to read? It’s because feelings don’t tell the whole story – the gospel does!

For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 – NKJV)

Related Article:

#faith, #feelings, #god, #head-knowledge, #heart, #heart-feelings, #isaac, #knowledge, #matters-of-the-faith, #religion

Another Nudge: Feelings about end-of-world prophecy

Here’s another little Nudge for you today: Tell how you felt about Harold Camping’s prophecy of the end of the world on May 21. I can guess what you thought, I pretty much know what you believe. But how did you react viscerally to it? Revulsion? Amusement? Disgust? Concern? So finish this old, psychologist’s statement: I felt (blank) because/when (blank).

Most psychologists seem to think the emotions rather than the thoughts hold the key to a person’s (what?) maturity, wholeness, wellness. But I assume you are mature, whole, and well. This Nudge is just for a happy little exercise in connecting and pulling you into the Room.

#emotions, #feelings, #prophecies, #psychology

Feelings are important in many areas but…

“Feelings are important in many areas, but completely unreliable in matters of faith.”

Eugene Peterson

#emotions, #faith, #feelings, #heart

Daily Nudge: emotional patterns

Chart your emotions

If you were to chart your emotional history, how would it look? Are you such a stable, level-headed person that it would pretty much be a flat line? Or wavy a bit, or steeper? Or would the ups and downs be sharp and close together?

Emotions come and go. Drastic swings, say the psycho(logist)s, are not healthy. But seems a few of God’s people had them, Elijah for one, maybe.

However our emotional states, the mind and the will concentrate on the Christ and maintain steady obedience to the will of God. That’s what matters.

#emotions, #feelings, #nudge

Right in our own eyes

My wife and I have been watching a new show called, Blue Bloods, on CBS. Tom Selleck plays the lead role of Frank Reagan, New York City Police Commissioner. On a recent episode when complimented for making a good, but tough decision, he made an interesting reply.

“It’s a funny thing about decisions. You don’t. . .have to talk yourself into the right ones.”

I’ve thought on that quote quite a bit. It seems to assume an honest person who wants to do the right thing. I say that since a lot of people have to be talked into doing the right thing.

It also connects to the way we interpret scripture. Straight forward interpretations have an automatic edge over convoluted complex ones.

I often see a direct correlation between lengthy complicated explanations and rationalizations.

It gets back to honesty and intent. Do we want to know what the scripture really says or are we forcing an interpretation we prefer?

Deep down we often know or at least suspect the right answer. It’s just not the one we want. It’s dangerous to make decisions and interpretations based solely on feelings.

#decisions, #feelings, #interpretation, #rationalization

Are we like whitewashed tombs?

“Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes!” This statement was posted on the Internet with following comments commending the author as being insightful. I agree in the strictest sense of the word — the first dictionary definition of the word is, “observable activity in a human or animal”. However it totally ignores the relationship between out thoughts, feelings and beliefs and how we behave. The second dictionary definition, “the aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli” points toward this relationship.

The statement seems to ignore this relationship and rather reinforces the commonly held false belief that it doesn’t matter what one thinks, feels, or believes: all that matters is what one does. This could not be further from the truth and contradicts Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5. Jesus here teaches that while the old law focused on bad behavior, we need to focus on getting our hearts right — that is, get our thoughts and feelings under control. If we control our thoughts and feelings, we will not behave badly.

It is sad to see such misunderstandings in the world. But sometimes I wonder if members of God’s household do not think this way at the core. If we do, are we not like white-washed tombs?

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

#behavior, #beliefs, #feelings, #motivation, #thoughts