In Follow the Leader who leads: Thinking or Feeling?

I was just reading my friend Andrew Yee’s Blog post about Doing Mission with a Partner, where we had a lively banter about feeling Gods presence, but it sparked a thought about where we go when we are not FEELING SOMETHING.

  • When the emotional butterflies aren’t running wild in our stomach like they used to.
  • When the person next to us in the theater is sobbing while the same experience doesn’t move us.
  • When the presence of God is something we are aware of but doesn’t grip us.

If I am not “feeling” something, where do I go?

A.     In follow the leader…thinking leads.

As you understand the depth of something emotions tend to follow.

  1. If there is a grizzly bear chasing me…Im usually gripped with fear.
  2. When the house is on fire…I usually run to get the most important things out (hopefully your family).
  3. When a loved one passes away…I usually am filled with hurt and grief.
  4. When my dog dies…I may be filled with grief and can assess whether I was too attached to my dog.
  5. When God promises to be present and working for my good…I should be filled with confidence in any situation.

Sadly, in some of these situations above, and many others we either aren’t filled with the the proper emotion or have an emotional response that is not based on an accurate picture of reality.  When we have a proper perspective it leads to an emotional response.

B.     Emotions are Tattletales of the Heart.

When you reflect on your dog dying and you go into depression it should be an opportunity to reflect and realize that your dog meant more to you than God intended it to.

action point: readjust your thinking to reality.  

In any situation in life that you face where you are looking for a deeper emotional experience and it doesn’t come the response shouldn’t be to force emotions, but rather go back and reflect on the object that is causing the emotion.

  1. If there is a grizzly bear chasing me…and IM NOT GRIPPED WITH FEAR…think more about how dangerous, ferocious and deadly that bear is…
  2. When the house is on fire…AND IM NOT RUNNING…think about the house collapsing on those you love most…
  3. When a loved one passes away…AND YOUR NOT GRIEVING…think about how much that person meant to you…
  4. When my dog dies…get over it, its a dog.
  5. When God promises to be present and working for my good…AND IM NOT CONFIDENT OR FEELING HIS PRESENCE…think and reflect on the promises of God and his character.

C.     Thinking leads, emotions follow, but over thinking Stalls.  

  • When you begin over thinking things you fall into the trap of becoming stagnant.
  • When you begin over thinking things your metaphorical car stalls.
  • When you begin over thinking things you have the propensity to turn into a hermit or recluse.
  • When you begin over thinking things you realize how deeply you actually believe in what you’re thinking about.

Thinking should lead to emotion and if it doesn’t its either because you have to get an accurate picture of reality or you don’t really believe in what your thinking about.

You could have all the knowledge in the world, but if it never affects your heart I question whether you really believe it.

You could tell me all day long the stats of the grand canyon (full article HERE) and how

The park includes over a million acres of land: 1,218,376 acres / 493,077 hectares, or 1,904 square miles / 4931 square km. The Width and depth of the canyon vary from place to place. At the South Rim, near Grand Canyon Village, it’s a vertical mile (about 5,000 feet / 1,524 m) from rim to river, or 7 miles / 11.3 km by trail. At its deepest, it is 6,000 vertical feet / 1,829 m from rim to river. The width of the canyon at Grand Canyon Village is 10 miles / 16 km (rim to rim), though in places it is as much as 18 miles / 29 km wide.

Or the details of the oceans depths (full article HERE) that says

The deep sea, or deep layer, is the lowest layer in the ocean, existing below the thermocline and above the seabed, at a depth of 1000 fathoms (1800 m) or more. Little or no light penetrates this part of the ocean and most of the organisms that live there rely for subsistence on falling organic matter produced in the photic zone. For this reason scientists once assumed that life would be sparse in the deep ocean but virtually every probe has revealed that, on the contrary, life is abundant in the deep ocean.

But if you’re not in awe at the creation of the world and the size and magnitude of such things and the depth of such things I would question how deeply you believe it.

If you study God as a theologian but the knowledge of such a God never penetrates your heart I would question how much you really trust the promises of God and the character of God.

action point: don’t beat yourself up and feel guilty, but instead continue to think and reflect on the object of your thoughtful and emotional pursuit.

Where do you see thinking and feeling intersect and where do you need to readjust your thinking, feeling, or over thinking?


2 thoughts on “In Follow the Leader who leads: Thinking or Feeling?

  • David, I really like where you’re going with this. One thing that has intrested me recently is the awe of God. It seems to me that in Biblical contexts the awe of God is both feeling and thoughts. It’s where these feelings and thoughts intersect that is so important. I believe that we must be constantly working to develope a biblical world view and if we can think correctly about the world then we will also begin to experience the world with correct emotions.

    Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about the problem with pastors who preach deep theological truths that have massive impact on our lives yet do it with little or know passion/emotion. I think this is wrong or at least they have not fully understood the real life impact of what they are preaching. On the other hand you have preachers that seemed to get worked up and emotional about every word they preach, this also can’t be right and seems to emphasize the emotional aspect of preaching over the content.

    Anyway we need correct biblical thinking that will produce correct emotions. Thanks for the great post.

    • You just keep bringing it caleb and I really appreciate the interaction a lot. They are so connected but it would seem to me that one is slightly higher or at least drives the other and that is where I lean to thinking that drives the train.

      Both of the examples you listed seem to create a problem and I want to dive to the root of why those exist. The guy who thinks but is disconnected from emotion has stalled and the emotional one has the potential to make decisions not rooted in reality but how he feels.

      Love your concluding thought…”we need correct biblical thinking that will produce correct emotions” amen.

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