Feelings Are a Poor Shepherd

by Susan Sampson

My feelings are so often my shepherd and I wonder why I’m in want.

On page 6 of our homework this past week Laurie wrote, “If I was to renounce everything I would have to even renounce the false impressions of my feelings.  Feelings lie, whereas the Bible tells the truth.  I needed to put my feelings aside and by God’s grace choose to put my faith in God and His Word alone.”

It all seems so real when we feel things.  As I type this I can sit here and know intellectually that my feelings change moment by moment and are not to be trusted, but in that moment when my flesh is set off — wow, it feels so real.

The love of God to me so often doesn’t feel real.  Again with my feelings.

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  What truth is packed into this simple verse from a children’s song!  The Bible says so.  God loves me.  This is the truth.  Jesus died for me.  This is the truth.  I am a sinner.  This is the truth.  I deserve death.  This is the truth.  Jesus took the punishment I deserve on the cross.  Truth.  He is risen from the dead and rules over all.  More truth.  Will we believe and follow the Living Word?

“I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).  Truth.  Will we believe?  Will we believe the very words of God Himself, the One who hung on a tree, crushed for our iniquities?  “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). 

Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.  So many times I have savored my sin.  The apple that is so pleasing to the eye.  Please enable us by your grace to see and savor Christ and the cross!  There is no greater symbol of love.  Enable us to meditate on what Christ did at the cross — the enormous cost of our salvation.

You are real.  Your love is real.  The cross is proof.  The resurrection is proof.  God’s Word is truth.

Thank you, Jesus, for leaving your throne to become fully human and suffering the rejection, hatred, and brutality of man.  Exposing yourself to the judgment of God. Bearing the wrath of Almighty God that we deserve! Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Is. 53:6-7). 

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (Ps. 23:1,5).

“Death and the curse were in our cup; O Christ, ’twas full for Thee; But Thou hast drained the last dark drop, ‘Tis empty now for me.  That bitter cup, love drank it up; Now blessing’s draught for me” (Hymn by Mrs. A.R. Cousins).

Father, the cup of wrath we deserved your beautiful Son drained it down to the last dark drop.  But it didn’t remain empty.  You have filled it to overflowing with mercy and grace.  The great exchange.  Truly our cup overflows.  May you direct our hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ (2 Thes. 3:5).  Enable us by your grace to hear our good Shepherd calling us by name to come and follow Him even in those moments when we question His very existence.  Enable us by your lovingkindness to renounce everything and turn from following the shepherd of our feelings to follow the One who gave His life for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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