Throughout our study of “The Gospel According to Satan” by Jared C. Wilson, we have been encouraged to discern between what is true and what appears to be true because of Satan’s spin on the truth. This week we unpack our feelings and see why they are a good gift from God, but not a compass for our reality.
God gave us emotions to enable us to experience the complex spectrum of life’s joys and sorrows. These feelings were supposed to lead us back to him, but in the Garden they became cross-wired and we’re still trying to figure them out. Emotions can be a good barometer of how we cope, process or experience the world we find ourselves in, but they do not tell us much about the world itself.
Jared Wilson uses the two extremes of human situations to illustrate his point. We see many people doing well in their natural life with a nice job, nice family, nice car and a nice house, but they are not Christian and it doesn’t bother them that they don’t follow Christ. They feel pretty good about their lives but they are on a direct course towards hell. In contrast, sometimes we as followers of Jesus feel like we are going through hell as we navigate seemingly insurmountable circumstances, but in reality, we are in the arms of our Heavenly Father who loves us and are shaping us for his Kingdom.
Furthermore, we often have to endure grave trauma that has been proven to rewire the way the brain processes information in relation to anything associated with that trauma. Trauma stays with you, and every time you remember the trauma, your body goes through the same physical experience you endured during the trauma. This too is not our present reality but our body feels as if it is.
“The devil loves orchestrating this inversion, where danger feels like safety, and safety feels like danger.” (p.70) Apostle Peter reminds us that the devil is “prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone else he can devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil wants to tear us to shreds. This is why he is so determined to overwhelm us with our emotions that we cannot rationally perceive true reality. “He wants us to define reality according to how we feel because he knows how overwhelming and all-consuming feelings can be.” (P. 70)
Emotions are important in our human experience, but we should always evaluate them from the perspective of our eternal reality. In scripture we read that anger is a legitimate emotion but we should not act on this anger or be ruled by it (Ephesians 4:26). In Galatians 5:22-23, we read about the fruits of the spirit which includes patience, gentleness and self-control which imply control over our emotions.
Last week we saw that the most reliable way to remind ourselves of this true reality can be found in scripture. Regardless of how we feel, God’s word will always be a reliable compass of what is true and what only appears to be true due to the devil’s influence.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the books studied by Nettie’s Book Club. I am not profiting from the sale of these books. I will carefully select books that have had a significant impact on my faith. My goal is simply to share the wisdom in these books with others so we can assess and apply the wisdom of these authors to grow in understanding of our faith together.