Monday, August 14, 2017

Most Deceitful

Being a pastor I have noticed that the biggest deceiver (a tool of the father of deceit, Satan) is the falseness of our feelings.  We feel something is true, therefore we make it true by the power we ascribe to that false feeling.

I was listening to sports radio on the way in to church.  They were trying to guess the top ten most dangerous animals.  The discussion was prompted by a story about Carol Kirken, a Michigan woman who was on vacation in Tanzania.  She was tragically killed by a hippo.  Yes ... those lovable "hungry, hungry, hippos" ... the animal responsible for those cute bath toys ... rank anywhere from the # 6 to # 11 animals deadliest to humans, killing between 100 and 3,000 people per year (based on the source of the data).  While we cringe and cower over shark-week, sharks kill an average of 6 people per year worldwide (of course with the exception of Sharknados).  Fact is, the most dangerous animals are mosquitos (killing between 750,000 and 1 million people per year) and people (who directly kill roughly 475,000 of their brothers and sisters per year).  So our perception and feelings about danger are all out of whack.  Why isn't there a hippo-week, a mosquito-week or a people-week?  Truth is shattered by what we feel.

In our "Falling into Jesus" series I want to address the disconnect between what we feel in our hearts ("The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" Jeremiah 17:9) and the truth of God's Word and plan.  In a world where we are told to "follow your heart" why do we ignore God's Word on this important issue?  I believe it is because we have been taught to worship our feelings.

People enter into litigation because someone has hurt their feelings ... God's Word says to settle with your brother before you enter the courtroom (Matthew 5:25).  People are fired from their jobs because someone's feelings are hurt by what they said ... I wonder if those filing the complaint have the right to cast that stone (John 8:7)?  We protect feelings, overly value "self"esteem and rant about how our feelings have been trampled ... all the while trampling and trashing other people who we think have wronged us.  After Jesus tells how He will "suffer many terrible things" (Luke 9:22) He gives some good advice about perspective.  "Turn from your selfish ways and follow me (Luke 9:23)."  I think the gist here is that we cannot follow self and Jesus simultaneously.  We must be Jesus-focused and other-focused.  If we are all up into how we feel about everything, we begin to get into a "self-serving" and "self-saving" mentality.  We get out of a serving others and Jesus-saving mentality.  Jesus said "if you  try to hang on to your life you will lose it, but if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it (Luke 9:24)."  No matter how much I "feel" that my issues are the most important, it just isn't true.  Listen to the stories of those around us.  Read about what Jesus did as he suffered many things for me.  Think of what our lives would be like if Jesus had followed human feelings!  Think of what your life could be if you placed feelings in their proper place ... subservient to God's truth.  Just sayin!  Randy

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