Joyce Meyer (August-16-2021) Daily Devotion: Truth vs. Feelings.
“But I can’t help the way I feel,” Angie moaned.
Most of us hear things like this often. It usually means that the way someone feels is settled, and they believe they have to let those feelings lead them. For many people, this is an unchallenged fact of life.
We have feelings, and sometimes they’re strong, but they don’t have to run our lives. Oftentimes we allow our feelings to determine our decisions and, ultimately, our destiny. With that mindset, if we feel discouraged, we stay discouraged; if we feel victorious, we see ourselves as victorious; if we feel depressed, we must be depressed, and so on.
Someone once said, “My feelings are emotions—they are not reality.” In other words, just because we feel a certain way doesn’t make that feeling a fact, it only means that we feel that way in the moment.
As an example, Janet sells real estate, and when she makes a sale, she feels wonderful and successful. Last month she sold five upscale homes and made an excellent commission. This month she’s sold only one, and she feels like a failure. Is Janet a failure? Not at all! On some days she feels that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
Today I may not feel God at work in my life. But is it actually true that He’s not working, or is it simply the way I feel? If the enemy can convince us that our feelings are reality, it becomes a lot easier for him to defeat us. I know many people who feel as though God doesn’t love them—that’s how they feel, but it definitely isn’t the truth.
Years ago, I spoke in a church, and many people came up to me to tell me how my message had encouraged them. I beamed because I was still new in ministry, and I really needed lots of compliments in order to feel successful. One man said, “I didn’t agree with anything you said. You need to get your theology straight.” And he walked away.
Immediately discouragement overwhelmed me. I had tried so hard to let God speak through me to the people, and I felt like a failure. As I left the church, I thought about what had happened. At least fifty people had told me how my words blessed them. Only one man came to me with a negative message. How did I react? I believed the negative. I allowed his words to shift my thinking, and I convinced myself I had failed.
The truth was, I hadn’t failed. I had listened to the wrong voice and allowed it to decide my feelings and how I would see myself. After that, I determined to never again allow one negative voice to discourage me and make me feel like a failure. Perhaps I had failed to help that man—which I couldn’t do anything about—but my teaching had truly encouraged many others. One woman had tears in her eyes when she told me that I had given her exactly the right word she needed to hear.
After the service, I reminded myself that what I experienced had been a negative feeling, but it had not been reality. I was new to public speaking, and the man who had been critical knew that. Then I started to quote Scriptures that reminded me of who I am in Christ.
I thought of Romans 10:9–10, which is today’s passage. We often quote these two verses when we’re talking about salvation, but it’s true for everything else in life as well. Paul says that we need to believe in our heart and confess with our words, so I stopped and said aloud, “God, I believe I’m in Your service. I believe I did my best for You. I believe You used my words to bless a lot of people tonight, and I don’t have to listen to that one negative voice.”
Within minutes, I felt better. (See how quickly our feelings can change?) Reality hadn’t changed, but my mindset had. When I refused to allow negative, wrong thinking to turn me from reality, it completely turned things around.