Paul admonishes us “That you should no longer walk… as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness”, (Eph.4:17).
Walking in the futility of our minds is a very unstable and deceptive place to be; but unfortunately a place where most of us feel quite comfortable. We have come to rely upon our own reasoning and the opinions of others to establish the will of God for us, instead of seeking His will through His Spirit as revealed in His Word, for ourselves.
We have learned to make decisions, including those of a spiritual nature using our human understanding. We have learned to quench the Spirit’s promptings within our spirits and sought rather to try to figure out the will of God and discern the voice of God using our human intellect and gut feelings.
Some rely on voices in their heads that crank out crazy commands and think it is the Holy Spirit when all it is an anti-christ spirit impersonating the Holy Spirit. (The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word or will of God as expressed in the Word of God.) Some rely on dream interpretation and personal prophecy.
We all like to tie up our favorite brand of theology in fuzzy warm feelings that make us feel “all nice and tingly”, never realizing our cafeteria style eclectic selections of this and that doctrine have created an army of Frankensteins in our midst and left us standing defenseless on the doorstep of folly.
We cannot know God through our thinking or our feelings, nor are we able to worship Him in thoughts and emotions. “True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth,” Jesus said, (Jo. 4: 23). If we do not worship Him is spirit and in truth, it is doubtful that we worship Him at all.
We offer the same sacrifices as Cain who thought the fruit of his own work
s was as good as the blood of the lamb. (Good works are not an adequate or acceptable payment for sin because sin demands a life must be given for a life taken). We cannot tell God how He will be worshipped even if we give Him the most extreme sacrifices, the fruit of our body, (our children) for the life of our soul.
Sin separates us from God. It disconnects us from the very source of our lives and we become vulnerable to doubt and alienation. We begin to feel the nagging accusations of guilt and the relentless questioning of religion that begin to destroy our assurance of salvation and confidence in God’s faithfulness.
What happens when we go into the wilderness and our feelings are not all warm and fuzzy and our sense of the closeness of God’s presence is obscured? We loose our confidence in God because the thoughts and feelings” we based our assurance on and spiritual authority on for today are not all warm and fuzzy.
Do you think Paul, sitting in that Philippian jail with Silas, that night, felt all “warm and fuzzy” about his relationship with God? Or that he never got hit with, “you should have just let that girl alone, (see Acts 16;16). No way! He did NOT base his next move on how he felt or what he thought.
He was firm in his resolve to act upon what he KNEW!, no matter how he felt or what it looked like. He resisted the temptation to get bitter and complain. He knew God was worthy of praise, no matter how he felt. He did the thing he knew to be right. Praising God right at that moment was not a religious act of hypocrisy, but a genuine demonstration of Paul and Silas’s love for, and trust in God. It became true spiritual worship and a sacrifice of praise.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
Our feelings and our thoughts are useless in determining and discerning the will of God. Our feelings and our thoughts are inadequate in rendering to God, true spiritual worship.
Forgive me Lord for all the offerings I have offered you that are merely human activities and collections of wood, hay, and stubble. (See I Cor. 3:11-14). I seek now and make a conscious decision to walk in Your Spirit and be led by Your Heart, not my best guess and religious thinking. Sorry, God for my hardness and self-righteous and doubtful heart. Change me Lord. Amen