He posed an interesting question. Take a look around, and I think you’ll agree that people struggle to do what’s right, and some struggle more than others. There’s no doubt of the evil in our nature, and the fact that we battle it every day of our lives. But where do we draw the line between fighting it and giving in? And why is that “breaking point” so different for every person? For every person I know who tries their darnest to do what’s right, I can point to another one that can’t make a good decision and lives in a state of constant chaos and struggle with others. And so, we argue over grace and works, when in fact there is no debate at all. Paul clearly said that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t a “get out of hell free” card, and that there’s no such thing as sinning for the sake of grace abounding. It doesn’t work that way, and yet we still act like it does (some more than others). We’ve been flat out told by Jesus that we’re expected to do what’s right, and grace isn’t an excuse to live however we want and pull the chute before we fall into hell. We can say the ends justify the means all day, but in the end the means are all that really matters. The ends will come, no matter what. How we get there matters.
So why is this a problem? Some say our sinful nature, and that’s true – but we need to drill it down further. What is it about our nature that keeps us in this trap? It’s been happening from Adam and Eve until right now. We struggle with it, from generation to generation. We’ve been destroyed once over it and have been promised that we’ll be destroyed again. What is our Achilles heel? I pondered it, and I think I know what the problem is. Take a look around, a real look, and I think you’ll agree: Our feelings are the culprit.
That’s right, it’s our emotions. We’re addicted to the dopamine high of happy feelings, and are willing to forsake wisdom, logic, and even common sense if it means we can be happy a little bit longer. We submit to our feelings too often and what’s right too little. We’re addicted to being happy. And that’s our downfall.
Certainly, some people are more prone to this than others. Temperament plays a big part of how much of a struggle it is. Some can see how the devil works on our emotions better than others, and naturally they put up the better fight. But there’s no question that this is Satan’s biggest foothold in our psyche, and he knows how to play it like a violin. Worse yet, it’s not too hard to hear him fiddling away if you’re of a personality type that’s more prone to logic and judgment than feeling and reacting.
Am I saying that feelings don’t matter? Absolutely not. God gave us feelings, so obviously they aren’t all bad. It’s just that we tend to give them more weight than they deserve. We were created to love, and work, and do His will – not to live in the isolation of keeping “self” happy. And that’s exactly what not guarding our emotions will lead to: isolation. If you don’t step outside of yourself and look at things with a balance of logic, then you wall yourself in and drive others out. It’s all about living in a balance and being happy with what’s right, not with what makes us feel good. I’ve read a lot about guarding your emotions and the trouble the devil can cause with them if we don’t learn when and when not to pay attention to them. Our duty is to love God and do what’s right, not to feel good all the time. We tend to forget that “happy” is a side effect of living right, not the main goal. Too often we take it for the cheeseburger when it’s really the fries.
I can tell you this: there’s a chink in our armor, and the devil knows it. Do you really want to let him rip it open and bend your mind to his will? Or do you want to take dominion over your mind and do what’s right? The choice is yours. Remember what I say so often: you can’t change the world from the outside. It happens from the inside, and now you know there’s a battle in your mind to keep you enslaved. What are you going to do about it?
That’s all today. Take care. Have a happy Friday tomorrow and a great weekend.