THE FEELINGS IN DISCERMENT OF SPIRITUAL THINGS
We may have heard believers say from time to time, that they had a feeling about a certain situation, and they decided to act upon that sentiment. Some may have prayed about it, and some just acted immediately on the feelings they experienced without any prayer. And some may have had good results, and some not so good.
The fact is that millions of Christian in the world give these kind of feelings and ideas, the value of God given premonitions, and because they come strongly into their souls, most of them act upon them as it they were been guided by the Holy Spirit. And as this kind of behaviour runs into all areas of life, it affects work, family life, marital relationships, friendships and even spiritual life in general.
But how much importance should we give feelings or ideas that appear in us suddenly with or without prayer, to be used as guide for our everyday living?
The Scripture shows us that even from the times when the New Testament was not finished and compiled yet, and God’s revelation was being disclosed to humanity through prophecy, apparitions, visions, and inspiration, there must have been people deceived by demons or their own minds, passing as God’s revelation, things which were not. This must have happened more usually than we can suspect, because it drove St Peter and St Paul to warn their people about it, while encouraging them to pay attention only to what the Apostles said, which was the only revelation free of error. (2Peter 1:19; 3:15-16; 2Thessalonians 2:1-2).
These days that we have the NT completed and available to all by God’s grace, this kind of deception continues affecting the Church of God, manifesting itself in different modes.
Some profess to have visions and prophecies guiding the Church to make drastic decisions over important areas that would affect her greatly.
Some other ones, in a more moderate way, say to have dreams, ‘inspired’ ideas, and feelings, to make decisions over personal and family matters that will also affect greatly their own lives and the lives of those who live around them.
Some will decide to marry someone, or not to be friends with another one, based only on these feelings and ideas, honestly thinking that they are being guided by God to do them.
But we can only fall into that wrong system by ignoring that we are fallible creatures, and that we can make wrong decisions, based on wrong presumptions.
Before the New Testament existed, indeed the guidance of God was made available through prophecy, dreams, and many other means of revelation, but even then, these had to be corroborated by the Apostles as guarantee of being correct (Galatians 2:9). These days we have the Apostles with us, in the writings they left for us in the NT, for our guidance (Psalm 119:105)
Even though the supernatural gifts are still present in God’s church these days, in the same manner as it was done before, we need to prove the truthfulness of these supernatural revelations, dreams, feelings and ideas under the light of the written Word of God.
When a feeling or idea comes into us about anything important, we need first to pray to God to guide us and free us from all deception; and then search for his guidance in the Scriptures. Only if our way of thinking and sentiments conform to the Scriptures, then we can consider acting upon these feelings; but in case they don’t, we must reject them as erroneous, and embrace the clear guidance of God’s word.
Any ideas, feelings, dreams or prophecy we receive, either directly or through another person for us; it can be a product of our or their imagination, or a demonic deception. Our minds can play in our subconscious, and the devil himself can play with our minds, making us feel emotions that will incline us to make a bad decision; and we need to be aware of that. All the feelings and ideas of supernatural origin, if they are truly the work of the Spirit, it will be in full harmony to the revelation of Scripture. The Holy Spirit will never guide us to act against the doctrines and teachings He himself has given us through the written Word.
We must in everything we do, search for God’s opinion in the Bible before we pay any attention to any feelings that we may have, even if it is for the mere fact that the Bible has the guarantee of infallibility we do not have from God. If we don’t, we will be gambling with our own lives, running the risk of making fatal mistakes for us and the ones around us, just because we were so stubborn as to consult God first, before running after our own selves.