Q. I was recently discussing faith with a family member of mine who is of another religion. She said if she ever has a question or doubt about her religion she simply asks the Lord and knows that she’s doing right because of the “good feeling” she gets in return. I don’t see how God would encourage someone to continue in any religion by sending “good feelings” their way. Are feelings good signs that our belief is correct?
A. Feelings are almost never a reliable guide for behavior. That’s because feelings come from emotions which are a function of the soul, not the spirit. And we know from going to the movies that emotions are easily manipulated, causing us to have feelings that aren’t legitimate.
The way to prove whether what you believe is true is to check it against what the Bible teaches (Acts 17:11). It’s the source of all spiritual truth, and making this comparison will let you see without a doubt if your beliefs are true.
Also, most of the behavior the Bible recommends initially runs contrary to our feelings. Things like turning the other cheek (Matt. 5:39), praying for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44), forgiving those who’ve wronged us (Matt. 6:12), or even putting our will aside to follow the Lord’s will (Romans 12:2) are not actions we would normally feel like taking. We make choices to do these things as a way of expressing our gratitude, not because we feel like it.
True faith does not come from a feeling. True faith comes from knowledge. The Bible does not say “Be still and you’ll get a feeling that I am God.” It says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Isaiah 46:10).