Feelings are deceiving

“I will never be the same again,
I can never return, I’ve closed the door.
I will walk the path, I’ll run the race
And I will never be the same again.”

~ lyrics by Geoff Bullock ~

Have you ever seen one of those optical illusions that can be viewed more than one way? Try this one from a site called miss optical illusions:

opt_faces

What do you see? A pretty young woman  or a stern old Scotsman or an old hag??

They’re all there if you look just the right way!

In one of the earliest scientific books on optical illusions,  Visual Illusions: Their Causes, Characteristics and Applications. Matthew Luckiesh, states that “Seeing is deceiving.” 

He attributes our mind’s interpretation of the things we see around us to our  “past experiences, associations, desires, demands, imaginings, and other more or less obscure influences….”

When you really think about it, we don’t always get an accurate picture of life based on the things we see around us. Both our eyes and our feelings can deceive us, yet we tend to depend so strongly on them to determine our beliefs about the world around us.

Many years ago when I was a teen, several of my youth group friends got together after watching a Billy Graham movie. As we sat together discussing our salvation experiences, one thing stood out – most of us had an emotional experience when we accepted the Lord.  Some felt the burden of sin lift from their shoulders. Others felt a sensation of joy.

One young man gave his heart to the Lord after the movie but doubted the validity of his experience because he didn’t “feel” any different. No matter how many scriptures we shared with him, no matter how many convincing facts we presented, he went home dissatisfied because he had not felt anything. He soon turned away from our youth group activities for those experiences which gave him the feelings he craved.

The same things that cause our minds to interpret optical illusions: “past experiences, associations, desires, demands, imaginings, and other more or less obscure influences…” are the same things that determine how we interpret every day events around us.

The devil understands that and sits on our shoulders lying to us, trying to  evoke personal pity parties. This young man succumbed to those lies rather than looking for the truth. Perhaps his father  ignored him or failed to give him the love he craved so he interpreted his lack of feelings at salvation to an uncaring God.

No, the resolute life of Geoff Bullock’s lyrics above grows out of a life based on the truth of God’s word.  It is a conscious choice to believe no matter what things look or feel like just because God says it is so.

That’s no easy task because we are wounded, emotional beings. It requires daily spiritual warfare:

  • open, honest sharing with The Lord about how we see the events and actions of others toward us. “He makes me sooooooo mad!”
  • being willing to pour out our feelings of guilt, shame, doubt, fear, mistrust, until we have laid all before the Lord. We really can’t hide our true feelings from God, though we often try.
  • taking time to be quiet before Him to listen to His words of  comfort, instruction and correction.
  • allowing His Spirit to give us a fresh, Godly perspective of what is going on around us – seeing things through His eyes rather than through the illusions of the enemy.
  • being willing to act on what He shows us – offering forgiveness to others and to ourselves. Becoming teachable and willing to work with the Lord to change those things we need to change about ourselves.

We must make a conscious decision to seek intimacy with Christ; getting to know Him so well we aren’t fooled by the illusions, lies and memories the enemy dredges up. Then and only then will we be able to say honestly, “I will never be the same again, I can never return, I’ve closed the door. I will walk the path, I’ll run the race and I will never be the same again.”

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