A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 122). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
And so many in this day have let our feeling be our masters. What do I feel like eating? What do I feel like doing? I feel like they slighted me. I don’t feel like going to church today. I don’t feel like doing what is right. I just don’t feel like it. Our feelings too many times have become our masters and that can be disastrous.
This is so important to realize. Dallas says, “In a situation such as today, by contrast, where people constantly have— or think they have— to decide what to do, they will almost invariably be governed by feelings. Often they cannot distinguish between their feelings and their will, and in their confusion they also quite commonly take feelings to be reasons. And they will in general lack any significant degree of self-control. This will turn their life into a mere drift through the days and years, which addictive behavior promises to allow them to endure.”
He continues, “Self-control is the steady capacity to direct yourself to accomplish what you have chosen or decided to do and be, even though you ‘don’t feel like it.’ Self-control means that you, with steady hand, do what you don’t want to do (or what you want not to) when that is needed and do not do what you want to do (what you ‘feel like’ doing) when that is needed. In people without rock-solid character, feeling is a deadly enemy of self-control and will always subvert it. The mongoose of a disciplined will under God and good is the only match for the cobra of feeling.”
Did I really feel like walking yesterday? No but I wanted to be healthy and not an invalid so I walked. Did I feel like having a scone today? Yes. Did I have one? No. What I really wanted was greater than what I felt like having so self-control set in over my feeling.
“Feelings are, with a few exceptions, good servants. But they are disastrous masters.”
So are your feelings your master or a servant?