Perhaps one of the most central ways Christians are called to stand against the world in our culture is our refusal to trust in ourselves and in particular, our feelings. There is so much emphasis in our world on self – self-esteem, self-care, believe in yourself. And therefore, we are urged to obsess with ourselves, and especially with our feelings – how do you feel? How do you really feel? Are you happy, sad, hopeful, joyful, depressed, miserable? And there are industries built around the analysis of feelings: counselors, seminars, books, charts, online tests dedicated to exploring who you really are and how you really feel.
But you need to realize that this obsession with self and feelings is based on the assumption that you are a god. The obsession with self, the obsession with how you are feeling in this moment, how you are feeling about your day, your job, your marriage, your kids, your life – the assumption is that your feelings are these magical windows into your soul, that they are perfect representations of who you really are and whether you are really doing well and living up to your full potential. But these assumptions are false. You are not a god. You are not a goddess. Your feelings are not perfect windows into your soul or trustworthy oracles of how your life is going. Your feelings, like the rest of you, are fallen and sinful. Your feelings are liars. Your feelings are fickle. Your feelings can enslave you. Your feelings are a dark jungle.
And all of this really is good news because you are not that important. You are not God. Your feelings are not that important. Your feelings are not your gods. Remember the words that we sing based on Psalm 42: “O my soul, why are you grieving? Why disquieted in me? Hope in God, your faith retrieving, He will still your comfort be. I again shall laud His grace for the comfort of His face. He will show His help and favor, for He is my God and Savior.”
What did David do when he was down? He preached to his feelings. He told his feelings to hope in God, and proclaimed to himself that God is his comfort. And instead of focusing on himself and his feelings, he turned to God in praise, proclaiming that God is his only God and Savior. David knew he could not save himself. His feelings could not save him. Only God could save him. You are not a god — you are not that important. But there is a great God who saves silly, self-obsessed sinners. And this is good news.