The idolatry of our feelings

In Jonah 1:1 we read, “The word of the LORD came to Jonah… ‘Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’”

Jonah didn’t want to do it, so he fled on a ship in the exact opposite direction. He was thrown overboard and swallowed by a huge fish. After three days it spat him out, and Jonah did an about face, went to Ninevah, and proclaimed to everyone that the city would be overthrown if they didn’t repent.

And it worked!

But a detail people often miss is what happens next. Instead of being happy, Jonah was angry. It seemed wrong that God was so compassionate that he saved everyone. Even though an amazing thing happened, it didn’t make him feel good. In fact, it made him feel bad.

It’s easy to succumb to the idolatry of our feelings. I realize we can learn a lot from our feelings, but whenever we say (or believe) things like, ‘God just wants you to be happy,’ we not honouring God with our feelings, we’re making our feelings into gods, as if they’re the only source of truth.

There are times when being courageous, obedient and even loving will not make you FEEL good. After all, doing the godly thing sometimes brings you into conflict with others, and might even go against what your own sinful nature wants.

That’s why it’s important to remember that how faithful you are is more important than what your feelings are. Yes, you can learn from your feelings, but they’re not your Commander.

By Matthew Ruttan

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