TIME TO RING THE GONG ON FEELINGS? Don’t you wish you could banish some of your feelings as easily as banging on the gong banished unwanted performers from the Gong Show stage? What good are the crummy ones anyway? Where do they come from? And why do the ones we hate stick to us like glue, while the ones we love drift so easily away?
These were the mysteries of the interior life that totally perplexed me as a young Christian. Until my conversion at age 33, all my feelings were perfectly horrible, but they made perfect sense. I had no doubt where they came from—the god of this world had “rung the gong” on me! I had been banished to eternal exile, but now I was back, or rather, a new and better version of me was back: Steve, the new creation. Why was I still so full of yucky feelings?
A False Sense of Loyalty
Not knowing any better, we tend to have an inward sense of “loyalty” to our feelings. They are ours after all. And they seem to be shouting out a message we ought to pay attention to. Before I met Jesus, I always listened to my fears and followed their advice about what to avoid (church, for instance; speaking in public, etc). Now I try to crush fear and charge right into the direction it wants to steer me away from taking. Due to working with Christians with addictions, I know how even wrong, unwanted cravings can overshadow just about all else. The despairing thought seems to be, “Since so much of me feels the need for this, won’t it ‘kill’ me to beat it down?” and “How can I fight myself and win?”
Here’s the truth: If you are a Christian, you are never fighting yourself, when you are fighting against feelings that are coming from your fallen nature. Feelings that are “wrong” (practically all the negative feelings) are lying to you! If your fears could tell you the truth, they would say, “Relax, trust God, and do what He shows you.” If your cravings were telling you the truth, they would remind you that you only need Jesus to be joyfully contented. If depression were telling you the truth, it would say, “Don’t listen to me! You have a future and a hope in God that can never be disappointed.” See how this works?
Liars and Bullies!
The negative feelings are liars and bullies. They won’t tell you these things because they are springing up out of your fallen nature and the old heart still at its center, which Jeremiah assures us, is intensely wicked and deceitful. This “unconverted side of me” doesn’t believe in forgiving so it is easy to become enraged and not want to let go of an offense. But that isn’t the real me! I have a new heart and a new nature that is just like Jesus—a heart that loves mercy.
Like you, I prayed for God to forgive me for all of my sins and sinfulness and He did. He separated me from my old heart and gave me a new one, just as He did for you. But He didn’t remove the old heart very far from us. Believing lies powers up all the unconverted feelings; believing truth releases the feelings that go with your new heart. Got it? Get it!
See this truth illustrated by “Two Hearts in One Believer” at our website.
If you would enjoy a romp through the 60s that’s a cross between the “Cuckoo’s Nest” and Dante’s “Inferno,” check out Rescued from Hell–an amazing, one of a kind story of insanity and return.