I have feelings for a guy friend. Feelings that I’ve asked God to take away from me several times, but for whatever reason, He has not. Why did God give me feelings I didn’t ask for? And what does He want me to do?
Short answer: I don’t think He did give you feelings for this guy.
I’m not sure where we got this notion that it’s God’s fault if we feel something we don’t want to feel. James 1:13–15 says:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Yes, God gave us the capacity to feel, because He made us in His image, and He feels deeply. But I don’t believe He feeds specific feelings into our hearts, like we’d feed a gum ball machine with quarters.
Our feelings ultimately stem from what we’re thinking and believing. Rather than asking God to take away your feelings, examine them the way you’d carefully examine your reflection in the mirror before leaving for school:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2, emphasis added).
God doesn’t give us our feelings; but we are wise to give our feelings to God. We see the psalmist doing this over and over in the book of Psalms. He pours out his feelings to God, and then he holds his feelings up to the truth of who God is and compares the two.
So the next time you want to blame God for your feelings, first ask yourself:
When did I start to feel this way? What led me to feel this way?
What am I thinking and believing that is contributing to this feeling?
How do my feelings line up with God’s truth? What does God’s Word have to say about what I’m feeling?
Then bring your feelings to God, taking them to His Word and placing them before Him in prayer.
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear from you. Do you believe that God is responsible for your feelings? Why or why not?
Nancy Leigh DeMoss was in a groove. She’d never been healthier—emotionally, physically, or spiritually. She was thriving, her ministry was thriving, and then one day—out of the clear blue—she received an email from widower Robert Wolgemuth.
Most single women would have jumped right into a relationship with a man of this caliber, but not Nancy. She’d always had a very strong sense of being set apart for the Lord, and He had never “awakened love” in her heart before.
So as Robert began to pursue her, Nancy told him 1) she had to know if the Lord was redirecting her life, and 2) the Lord would then have to put love in her heart for him.
Watch this fifteen-minute video, “Unexpected Grace,” to learn how God did just that.
And if you’d like the longer version, listen to or read the Revive Our Hearts transcripts all this week to hear how Nancy grappled with issues of God’s calling for her life, knowing His will, and more; and how God led her one step at a time.
If you didn’t get a chance to tune in to the LIVE stream of the wedding this past weekend, you can watch the wedding here. (Yes, she’s now Mrs. Nancy Wolgemuth!)
Finally, if you’re still in the mood for more scoop on this story, watch some or all of these fifteen video clips. My personal favorites:
Trevor Marsteller and I joined hands in the stately building of Missio Church on October 3 and covenanted before God and man to love each other ’til death do us part. We returned the following morning and held hands in a pew near the front as we listened to the Word of God preached to the people of God.
Many of these people were incredulous: “You’re on your honeymoon, and you’re at church?!” We might as well have sprouted horns on our heads.
“You’re on your honeymoon, and you’re at church?!”
If it had been up to me, I probably would’ve opted to pull the covers over my head and dozed as long as possible after the stress of pulling off an event of that size. Missing a Sunday here or there hasn’t seemed like a big deal to me, especially after such a life-altering event.
But Trevor is the leader in this relationship—not me—and when he explained why he didn’t want to skip church the day after our wedding, I was so grateful.
“If marriage is an earthly picture of a heavenly reality,” he asked, “why would we miss out on being pointed to that heavenly reality?”
And so we participated in our local church service the morning after our wedding—as we do every Sunday, even when we’re traveling. We showed up not because we believe church attendance merits God’s favor (hardly!) or sets us apart as more righteous than others (as if!), but because we love God, His Word, and His people.
Caring for the Bride of Christ
In a congregational meeting a few weeks later, one of our elders reminded us of how passionately Jesus identifies with His bride, the Church.
It was amazing to see this truth so clearly in Acts 9. In this passage, Jesus asks Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?”
When Saul asks who Jesus is, He again reiterates, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (emphasis added).
How could Jesus say Saul was persecuting Him when He was safe at His Father’s side in heaven by this time (see Acts 1:9)? Because as we treat Christ’s people, so we treat Christ.
As we treat Christ’s people, so we treat Christ.
Christ’s very Spirit dwells in His bride, and His bride is in Christ. We’re one now. He loved His bride enough to give His life for her.
So how can we claim to love Jesus without caring for His bride, the Church?
After hearing God’s Word preached on October 4, Trevor and I leaned over to each other and agreed, “We’re so glad we didn’t miss this.”
It might not always be convenient, but this new bride is grateful for a husband who so highly values Christ’s bride.
How about you? Do you have a careless or a careful disposition toward faithfully and eagerly attending your local church? If you don’t regularly attend, what’s your excuse for not prioritizing Christ’s bride?
(I wrote this post before I got married, and I’m just now getting around to posting it here. Sorry for the delay!)
If I could pick only one verse and frame it in my new home as a constant reminder, I would choose Proverbs 19:11, hands down:
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Yeah . . . I’m not so hot at living like this.
Oh, I’ve learned how to keep my cool on the outside. That’s easy for me. I’m a stuffer. But on the inside . . . I’m steaming hot and bothered more times than I’d dare admit!
These days, wedding planning has served to show me just how easily offended I am.
Is there a life circumstance that is squeezing the true colors out of your heart?
For example, if someone told me they couldn’t host an out-of-town wedding party guest overnight, it was far easier for me to assume they were selfish and inhospitable rather than remembering that I didn’t have the full picture of their current schedule and assuming they had a good reason for saying no.
Or if someone said they’d charge me more for a wedding service than they’d originally said they would, I assumed they were greedy and using me rather than assuming that they forgot the original price they’d told me.
You might not be planning a wedding right now, but is there a life circumstance that is squeezing the true colors out of your heart?
Do you feel angry? Insulted? Provoked? Offended? Downright mad?
Are you shocked that someone could be so selfish and thoughtless toward you?
Instead of overlooking an offense (Prov. 19:11), are you doing the exact opposite? Slowly circling it, taking it in from every angle?
I wonder how often we’re needlessly offended by perceived offenses—things that aren’t even real offenses!
What if—rather than shining a spotlight on others’ offenses—I sought to uncover my own?
What if, instead, you and I were to give the same attention to our actual offenses toward a holy God?
How many times a day do I live in a way that displeases Him? How many times a day do I ignore Him? Disregard Him? Rebel against the laws He has given for my good?
What if—rather than shining a spotlight on others’ offenses—I sought to uncover my own?
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (Prov. 28:13).
My God has forgiven me my actual offenses by punishing His perfect Son, Jesus, in my place. As a result, He has removed my transgressions from me, as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12)!
How, then, can I refuse to let go of perceived offenses that others commit against me?
If you find yourself battling offenses like me, here are a few steps you can take:
Give it to God, again and again, in prayer.
Remind yourself that you don’t have all the facts. You can’t see the other person’s heart. You’re not the Judge; God is.
Assume the best of others instead of assuming the worst.
Get to the root. Why are you so angry and offended?
Examine your own life. Are you guilty of the very same “sin” you’re accusing your offender of?
I’d love to hear from you. Are you often offended? If so, what do you do? How do you respond—internally and externally?