Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 14, 2016

which is winning?

Most people, even those who hold the truth of Scripture closely, have sensed the tension that erupts between our beliefs and feelings. We would all like to avoid the tension but, in reality, it seems ever-present and always ready to erupt. During a leisurely six-hour wait in the Atlanta airport on Friday, there was a brief moment where what I was reading in Scripture (my Bible was still open) and what I felt, came quickly into conflict. Thankfully, because the Word had just made an impression on me, my initial inclination quickly evaporated. But there was tension!

Isn’t it easy to be thankful when God is providing and there is a sense that everything is okay financially? My wife and I pray about finances, our business, and when to honor God with what He places in our hands. So why would I sense tension between the Word and my feelings? After about four hours in the airport, I called my wife. She proceeded to tell me that a man called and shared a heart wrenching story about someone in need. He shared how this person would be evicted if the rent wasn’t paid soon. And in reaching out to people, Genel (my wife) came to his mind. My wife, after hearing the story and trusting the spiritual integrity of the caller, felt she needed to help. During our call, she wanted to know what my thoughts were. Well….

It sounded a little skeptical to me at first. Was the caller being used? Why was this person always in need? To my dismay, those were not real spiritual thoughts. Oh, the tension between the Word and my feelings! For me, the issue wasn’t about the person in need as much as it was about how tightly did I want to hold on to what we’ve worked hard to accrue. But wait; don’t we pray about our finances and believe that we are stewards of God’s resources? Sitting at gate C10, I was facing a conflict between what I now feel was an absolute call to give, and my own selfishness. Shame on me!

My reading had just been in Deuteronomy 8, and as I said before, the Bible was still open. My reading was from the Message, and look at what verses 17-18 stated:

If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.

It was great reading … that is, until Genel called and I was confronted with my feelings. After all, I work hard and I don’t really know this person … is their need valid? Shame on me! For me, it really wasn’t the need, as much as how I responded. Thank goodness Genel’s sense to help was strong. I could have easily made a huge mistake by forgetting my role as a steward, and holding God’s provision too tightly. In the Life Application Study Bible (NLT), great commentary is given on Deuteronomy 8:11-20.

“In times of plenty, we often take credit for our prosperity and become proud that our own hard work and cleverness have made us rich. It is easy to get so busy collecting and managing wealth that we push God right out of our lives. But it is God who gives us everything we have, and it is God who asks us to manage it for him.”

Thank goodness I had just been reading the Word when the call came. It caused perspective to come quickly and challenge my selfishness. Our feelings dart and twist like leaves in the wind, while Truth is a solid rock which cannot be moved.  The tension I have shared between the Word and my feelings is just an illustration of what we all face. Maybe the truth vs. feelings tension you are feeling today is in the area of forgiving someone, or releasing anger, or serving, or tithing or … the list goes on and on!  No matter what the specific issue is, the question is this:

In your battle between the Word and feelings, which is winning?


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