Here are 5 things that often happen when the Lord is warning you that your feelings are misleading you.
1. If You Are Following a Persistent Feeling Despite All the Circumstances Consistently Contradicting Your Feelings for a Longtime, This Is Often a Sign God Is Saying Your Feelings Are Misleading You
Eventually, if your feelings are truly in alignment with God’s will, your reality will match what you feel God is saying to you.
But when a longtime passes and there is still a contradiction between your feelings and your reality, it’s then usually time to accept your feelings are misleading you. I can’t tell you exactly when to start doubting your feelings about what God is saying, but eventually you should be open to the idea that your feelings are misleading you if the circumstances in your life never actually align with what you believe God is saying.
As Proverbs 16:9 states, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Sometimes the plans in our hearts do align with God’s will. But if your desires don’t align with God’s will, God will establish your steps in a way that contradicts your feelings.
Don’t follow your feelings forever at the expense of ignoring the clear signs God is sending through the events in your life.
2. If Your Feelings Are Tempting You to Try to Find Loopholes in God’s Clear Commands, This Is a Sign Your Feelings Are Misleading You
If you know what the Bible says about a particular subject but you find yourself searching and searching for a way to see something different in the Scriptures that would allow you to follow through on a feeling you have, this is often a sign you are being misled.
I do believe, however, that we should study the Scriptures even on topics we think we know about because oftentimes the Lord deepens or knowledge or corrects our understanding about something that we previously misunderstood. It certainly is possible and wise to change a belief once you see a biblical justification to do so.
But rarely will this occur when it comes to sin. God’s commands in regards to sin are not vague or confusing. Some topics can be debated in the Bible and two mature Christians can agree to disagree. Rarely does this occur with sin issues because when we read the Bible humbly and simply accept the clear and obvious meaning of God’s commands, it’s not hard to understand what is sin and what is not. But when we are being misled by our feelings, we tend to overcomplicate things and try to find loopholes that make us feel like we can sin in the ways we really want to. As Peter said in 2 Peter 3:15-18, which states:
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
3. If Your Feelings Are Causing You to Interpret Everything as a Sign Pointing You Towards This Thing You Want, This Often Means Your Feelings Are Misleading You
If you simply scrolled through my videos and looked at all my titles that start with things like “3 Signs This . . .” or “5 Signs That . . .”, you might walk away feeling like I believe you can see signs in every little thing possible in life. But for those of you who actually watch these videos rather than just judging them by the titles, you know that is not what we all believe.
For a thorough explanation on the way I use this term “signs”, you can read my article called “What Does the Bible Say About Signs?” In that article I explain that there are basically 3 common ways to use this word “signs” and almost every time I use this word I’m referring to the second definition for this term which is: “A sign is evidence for what God wants you to do.”
(And for those who are wondering about the first and third type of sign, the first type of sign is what I refer to as a supernatural event, often called “signs and wonders” in the Bible. God does use these types of signs throughout the Bible but we are warned not to ask for these types of signs nor to put God to the test by demanding them. The third type of sign is an unbiblical practice of being superstitious and attaching one’s own meaning to unrelated events that don’t mean anything like seeing a shooting star or seeing 5 grey cats in a row. For more on this, I encourage you to review What Does the Bible Say About Signs?)
All that to say, while I do believe God speaks through his word, the circumstances of our lives, and the Holy Spirit in our hearts, all of which can help us interpret the evidence for what God wants us to do – one sign that you are being misled by your own feelings is if you are beginning to literally interpret everything to support your preexisting desire.
This is when we start shifting from the healthy use of signs into the unhealthy third type of signs which I refer to as “horoscopes and superstitions.” While God will speak to us, the world does not revolve around us. Everything that happens is not a personal message to us. The ant crawling north, the rain starting right at 3:33pm, a cloud shaped a certain way – these things are probably not God speaking to you.
When God speaks, it will be clear and biblically consistent. As 1 Timothy 4:7 states, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.”
4. If Your Feelings Are Causing You to Label “Bad Choices” as “Steps of Faith”, This Is a Sign God Is Warning You that Your Feelings Are Misleading You
The Bible is full of stories where God did ask people to take huge steps of faith that seemed very unwise to the outside world. So I’m not saying that God will never tell you to take a big risk that appears unwise to other people looking in. However, every time God asked someone to take a big step of faith in the Bible, he also confirmed this to them in a very clear way.
I believe in the principle that the bigger the step of faith God asks you to take the more confirmation God will give you to take that step of faith. I don’t believe God will expect you to do something very risky simply because you have an intuition about it. God will lead you to take big risks in life at certain times, but he also calls you to live wisely. So in wisdom he will help you confirm this decision to take this big step of faith by giving you very clear confirmation that goes far beyond your own feelings.
He will give you Scripture, he will give you clear circumstantial evidence, and he will give you a strong conviction in your heart through the leading of the Holy Spirit. But if you are about to take a big risk that is unwise but you are calling it a step of faith, this probably means you are being misled by your feelings.
As James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
5. If Your Feelings Are Causing You to Doubt God’s Goodness, This Is a Sign Your Feelings Are Misleading You
God made our emotions and our feelings are not bad or good. Rather, they are a tool that we are to use to bring God glory. God is glorified when our feelings show our delight in him. But if we are not careful, our feelings will have a mind of their own. Rather than leading our feelings we can easily be led by our feelings.
It’s clear your feelings are misleading you when you start to doubt the goodness of God. In faith, even when life is hard and confusing, you will know that God is good and has blessings planned for you in Christ. But if you let your feelings mislead you, you will begin to equate God’s goodness with your own definition of goodness; and then when you do not get what you want, you will doubt God’s love.
While God will bless us with many good things like material blessing, relationships, and health, these are not the ultimate sign of God’s goodness. Christ himself is the ultimate sign of God’s goodness towards you.
As Ephesians 1:3 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
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