How many of us have found ourselves wanting to do what feels right? I have. Hollywood has taught us to “follow your heart,” but scripture says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9). So what do we do with all these feelings we have, especially when a big decision is on the line?
Let’s take a quick look at the story of King Saul following his feelings in 1 Samuel 13.
Saul hadn’t been king long and was preparing the Israelite army for battle against the Philistines. Saul could sense the fear setting in among his troops and they were scattering. Time was running out. The battle was near. However, Saul wouldn’t do anything without God’s blessing. Earlier, Saul was given a command from the prophet and priest, Samuel, to wait until Samuel showed up to offer the burnt offering and peace offering to receive God’s blessing. Seeing his troops fearful and time running out, Saul took matters into his own hands and went ahead and made the offerings.
Suddenly, Samuel shows up. He tells Saul he’s a fool for disobeying the Lord and asks Saul why. Saul said he “felt compelled” to offer the offering (1 Samuel 13:12). His troops were scattering, he could sense the fear, he hadn’t gone to God with it yet, and Samuel didn’t show up when he said he would. All this sounds reasonable and Saul let his feelings get in the way of obeying the Lord.
The result? A fatal blow to Saul’s kingdom. Everything he feared would happen and was trying to avoid, happened anyway. He lost his troops, lost the battle, and the Lord appointed a new king (1 Samuel 13:14). Saul’s feelings lied to him.
How often does hindsight show us our feelings lied to us?
From your current perspective, there may be something which feels right and reasonable, maybe even God honoring. Saul wanted to go before the Lord with his situation, but the Lord commanded Saul to wait and he didn’t. Obedience, faith, and trust were more important than offerings. Although things may feel good, right, and true we have to test them against what we know is good, right, and true.
What do we know? We know there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12). We know Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). We know Jesus is the living Word of God (John 1:1-14). Therefore, we know we can test everything we feel against the written, breathing, living, and true Word of God (see Isaiah 55:11, Proverbs 3:5-6, Ephesians 6:10-16, & Hebrews 4:12).
What areas in your life are you living out of what feels good and right? How can you change your perspective to live in the truth?