The Verbs #9 (Feelings)

Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;

it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.

The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,

wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.

Having dismissed her serving maids,

Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place,

and invites everyone within sound of her voice:

“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?

Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!

I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,

roast lamb, carefully selected wines.

Leave your impoverished confusion and live!

Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 9). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

Here, wisdom built a university, furnished it, opened all the classrooms and then headed in to town to recruit. Wisdom is recruiting prospects into the classroom of wisdom. This is an invitation to every single person and it’s a beautiful thing. Money, education level, neighborhood, last name, color, creed, economic status or your political affiliation, is not a determining factor to receiving an invitation to this university. It is open to every single person. The only prerequisite needed is your desire to learn! There is no tuition, loans or room and board to pay. It’s a free university if you are willing to leave the impoverished, confused life, and just walk up the street to a life that has meaning.

That is a pretty incredible deal. It’s offered every day, every moment until Jesus comes. All you need to do is decide to leave the life that leads to nowhere and come to this life that is abundant life.

Now, just to give you a warning that you should understand clearly, this course that is taught in the university of wisdom, you may not be able to handle. You might even want to drop out of this class. The course is called conviction and constructive criticism. It’s the corrective measure of God. He places a feeling (we call it conviction) into us that gives us a pause, warning or command to either stop doing something or to start doing something. How you handle that course determines whether you stay in this university.

Solomon tells us the difference in people who take this class in verse Proverbs 9:7:

If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;

confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.

So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;

all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.

But if you correct those who care about life,

that’s different—they’ll love you for it!

Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;

tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 9:7–9). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

I have heard that first line explained in so many different ways. “Never smack a man who chews tobacco” was the way that one preacher said it. In other words, you have to decide if the stain is worth the point you are trying to make.  Or it’s like the story of the bulldog and the skunk. The skunk kept coming into the bulldog’s yard. Everybody was waiting on the bulldog to go whip the skunk. He could do it, everyone knew that he could, but he never did make a move towards the skunk. Finally, someone asked the bulldog why he didn’t go run that skunk out of his yard? He said, “well I knew I could beat him, I just didn’t think it was worth the stink.” You have to decide if the fight is worth the stink, and most often it is not!

So many people have a lot of knowledge. Knowledge is simply knowing the facts. We are in the school of wisdom, and wisdom is knowing how to apply those facts. Here we are told to save our breath. Why even bother dealing with some people? Instead, focus on the ones that want this kind of life, the life that Jesus has given to us.

Sadly, one area that many people get upset about is when their lifestyle is contrary to the word of God. The scripture says that when you do make that confrontation, it will cause you pain. Why? They have been fooled by another voice.

13–18  Then there’s this other woman, Madame Whore—

brazen, empty-headed, frivolous.

She sits on the front porch

of her house on Main Street,

And as people walk by minding

their own business, calls out,

“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?

Steal off with me, I’ll show you a good time!

No one will ever know—I’ll give you the time of your life.”

But they don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet,

that all her guests end up in hell.

People are fooled by the good time they are having; however, they don’t see that there is a sudden stop coming to that good time. One cannot deny that sin is pleasant for a season (Hebrews 11:25). However, there is also no denying that it always ends in destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Just because something feels good doesn’t indicate that it is right. Emotions, or shall I say feelings, often can lead us down a path that isn’t godly.

Feelings are the main way that the enemy fools people. May I remind you that the devil came at Eve, using one of God gifts to humankind: feelings.We need to understand some things about feelings, starting with the fact that God created them. He gave us the capacity to have them, just as He Himself has feelings. Look at the scriptures, and you’ll see how God feels. He expresses pleasure, joy, anger and sadness just to name a few. He gave us the ability to feel all those things. While feelings are gifts from God, they do have limitations. Operating on a feeling isn’t the same as operating with truth, or even rational thinking. Feelings can go up and down, but what we know as truth, always stays the same. Feelings tend to react, but thinking tends to keep itself grounded in what we know. Again, truth remains the same. The bottom line is that feelings can react to something we know not to be true.That’s why, when it comes to responding to what God tells us, we must put what we know ahead of what we feel. We must make our knowledge of His truth the engine, and our feelings the caboose.We need to make sure that our feelings are guided by what we know, not the other way around.Satan convinced Eve to turn that around and her feelings were driving instead of following. He wanted her to use the emotions that he stirred within her to be the choice maker on whether she ate the forbidden fruit or she obeyed God.

Thousands of years after this scene in the garden, the apostle John wrote this of the sinful pleasures this world has to offer:

“for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the father, but is from the world” 1 John 2:16 (NASB)

When you compare this verse with Genesis 3:6, you notice some striking parallels. John tells us that the world offers:

Lust of the flesh = The fruit looked so good to Eve, good enough to eat

Lust of the eye = The fruit was pleasing to Eve’s eyes

Boastful pride of life = The fruit was desirable to make Eve wise

Satan knew then, and knows now, that he can appeal to these kinds of feelings, which are in the heart of every human being. Each of us wants to satisfy the lust of our flesh and eyes, and each of us wants to think more highly of ourselves then God says we should. Sin feels good, but for a season. Many people enjoy the “feel good” part, but that part will come to an end.

Part of the devil’s strategy in getting us to sin is to give us the illusion that we can control it, and for a while, it even seems that way. We do what feels good thinking we are in control, but it’s only a matter of time before sin controls us. If you were to talk to anyone whose marriage, ministry or life has been ruined by the effects of drugs, alcohol or any other addiction, I think that that person would tell you, “I never thought it would come to this. I was just dabbling in it, and then I got sucked into it.”

What Satan didn’t want Eve to know and what he doesn’t want us to know today, is that when we decide to disobey God, when we remove ourselves from the protection of God, then the devil is running the show. When the devil is running the show, he’ll take you farther then you want to go and keep you longer than you ever planned to stay.

That’s why you need to stay in the Course at Wisdom University.