How can you change unwanted feelings? How can you stop fear, lust, and doubt? How can you stop worrying about the concerns found on this earth?
What does the Bible say about changing your feelings?
Objective Truth Must Govern Our Subjective Experiences
Throughout the Bible we are taught that there is a difference between objective truth and subjective experiences.
Objective truth is what is true whether you believe it to be true or not. For example, you can disbelieve that the earth is round, but that does not change the fact that the earth really is round and not flat. Subjective experiences, on the other hand, are personal and are all about what we as individuals feel, think, and believe in our own perspective. You can feel like everyone dislikes you regardless if that is true or not. That is your experience.
So when you are asking how can you change your feelings, you are really asking, “How can I change my subjective experience of reality?” The answer the Bible gives to this question is that your beliefs about objective truth shape your subjective experiences. What you believe shapes the way you feel.
Therefore, to change unwanted feelings, you have to dwell on objective truth. When you choose to believe the truths found in God’s word, this will change your feelings. Your subjective experience flows from what you believe about objective truth. For example, Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” When our minds, thoughts, and beliefs are transformed, we will not follow the lies of the world.
1 John 3:19-20 also states, “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” Notice it said our hearts will be at rest, which is referring to our subjective experience, when we know the truth about God. Again it says, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts.”
In other words, if you are saved by God, your “feeling” of being condemned does not overrule the truth that God has saved you. You are still saved by God because God is greater than your feelings. God’s objective salvation through Jesus Christ is greater than your personal experience.
But the amazing part to notice, however, is that when we accept this as truth and we believe that God is objectively more powerful to save us than our subjective feelings which condemn us, this will actually change our subjective feelings too. 1 John 3:19-20 is teaching us that if you feel a way that is not true, you must believe objective truth first and then your feelings will change the more you believe the truth.
Isaiah 41:10 states, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Notice that “fear” and feeling “dismayed” are subjective experiences. How does God tell us to change those feelings in Isaiah 41:10? He tells us to remember the truth, “I am with you. I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you.” These are objective truths. When you believe these objective truths it will change your subjective experiences.
“Fear not” means “don’t feel fear.” So how can you change the feeling of fear inside of yourself? According to Isaiah 41:10, when you remember the objective truth that God is with you, this will then change the way you feel.
This is how the Bible tells us to change our feelings. We must always believe God’s truth more than our human feelings, and when we do, our feelings will change too. So whenever you have a feeling that you want to change, you must combat this unwanted feeling with God’s truth.
If you feel unforgiven because of your sin even though you have confessed and repented, you can remember the objective truth of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
If you feel unlovable, you must remember the objective truth found in 1 John 3:1 regarding those who have been saved through the gospel of Jesus Christ, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
If you feel like you want to engage in lust, you must remember the objective truth in Romans 6:6 that when you put your faith in Jesus, you died to sin and became alive to God, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
If you feel like God does not have a good plan for your life, you must remember the objective truth of Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Every time you have a feeling you know is unbiblical, you must fight it off with the truth found in God’s word.
In summary, you must let God’s truth lead your feelings. Never let your feelings lead what you believe about truth. When you believe God’s objective truth, this will shape your subjective experiences.