Trust Christ, Not Your Feelings

Avoid the mistake of concentrating overmuch on your feelings. Above all, avoid the terrible error of making them central. Now I am never tired of repeating this because I find so frequently that this is a cause of stumbling. Feelings are never meant to take the first place, they are never meant to be central. If you put them there you are of necessity doomed to be unhappy, because you are not following the order that God himself has ordained. Feelings are always the result of something else, and how anyone who has ever lloyd-jones_martynread the Bible can fall into that particular error passes my comprehension. The Psalmist put it in the 34th Psalm. He says, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’ You will never see until you have tasted; you will not know it, you will not feel it until you have tried it. ‘Taste and see’, it follows as the night the day. Seeing before tasting is impossible. That is something that is constantly emphasized everywhere in the Scriptures.

After all, what we have in the Bible is Truth; it is not emotional stimulus, it is not something primarily concerned to give us a joyful experience. It is primarily Truth, and Truth is addressed to the mind, God’s supreme gift to man; and it is as we apprehend and submit ourselves to the truth that the feelings follow. I must never ask myself in the first instance: What do I feel about this? The first question is, Do I believe it? Do I accept it, has it gripped me? Very well, that is what I regard as perhaps the most important rule of all, that we must not concentrate overmuch upon our feelings. Do not spend too much time feeling your own pulse taking your own spiritual temperature, do not spend too much time analyzing your feelings. This is the high road to morbidity. . .

Your business and mine is not to stir up our feelings, it is to believe. We are never told anywhere in Scripture that we are saved by our feelings; we are told that we are saved by believing. ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’ Never once are feelings put into the primary position. Now this is something we can do. I cannot make myself happy, but I can remind myself of my belief. I can exhort myself to believe. I can address my soul as the Psalmist did in Psalm 42: ‘Why art thou cast down O my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me?  Hope thou’ … believe thou, trust thou.  This is the way.  And then our feelings will look after themselves.  Do not worry about them. Talk to yourself, and though the devil will suggest that because you do not feel, you are not a Christian, say:  ‘No, I do not feel anything, but whether I feel or not, I believe the Scriptures. I believe God’s Word is true and I will stay my soul on it.  I will believe in it come what may’.  Put belief in the first place, hold on to it.  Yes, J.C. Philpot was right at that point, the child of the light is sometimes found walking in darkness, but he goes on walking.  He does not sit down and commiserate with himself – that is the thing – the child of light walking in darkness.  He does not see the face of the Lord at this point, but he knows that He is there; so he goes on.

. . .Let me put it in this way: ‘Do you want to know supreme joy, do you want to experience a happiness that eludes description? There is only one thing to do, really seek Him, seek Him Himself, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find that your feelings are depressed do not sit down and commiserate with yourself, do not try to work something up but — this is the simple essence of it — go directly to Him and seek His face, as the little child who is miserable and unhappy because somebody else has taken or broken his toy, runs to its father or its mother. So if you and I find ourselves afflicted by this condition, there is only one thing to do, it is to go to Him.

If you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and find him there is no need to worry about your happiness and your joy. He is our joy and our happiness, even as He is our peace. He is life, He is everything. So avoid the incitements and the temptations of Satan to give feelings this great prominence at the centre. Put at the centre the only One who has a right to be there, the Lord of Glory, Who so loved you that He went to the Cross and bore the punishment and the shame of your sins and died for you.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones  Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure” 1965.

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