Lately, I have been doing a lot of listening and learning on new age philosophies vs. Christianity and it has brought me, additionally, to some other interesting topics. New age philosophy is a whole separate discussion that will certainly happen in another post, but this got me thinking about the most general and basic mantras that modern society embraces.
It is next to impossible to deny that our modern culture is direly absorbed with the idolization of self. If you have any form of social media, it is very likely that you have been met with the onslaught of “love yourself” and “listen to your heart” messages. I understand how attractive these messages are, especially outside of Christ. I was once deep into the self love, self exploration and listen to your feelings ideology. It certainly is an ideology whether we’d like to admit it or not. I also hypothesize that most women, even Christian women, have taken part in this ideology without ever intending to.
“For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas.”2 Timothy 4:3-5
With that said, Christian women, please read this with an open heart. My desire is never to make readers, or anyone for that matter, feel attacked but perhaps edified or convicted.
Many of the messages the modern woman is currently bombarded with are heavily wrapped up in the idea that you are your own god, your own savior and you just need to do all this inner work to uncover the deity that you are. While this is a problem upfront for anyone whose allegiance is to Christ, these ideas obviously do not present themselves this overtly.
“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”2 Corinthians 11:12-15
It all begins with this emphasis on feelings. This is incredibly effective because it is seemingly innocent and so incredibly enticing. Who wouldn’t want to live a life, unapologetically, based off of how they feel? I get it. Stop swimming upstream and just listen to your feelings, girl! Right?
No. This is dangerous for your soul.
Not to be anecdotal but, I lived my entire teen-hood “listening to my feelings.” It left me terribly lost and empty and it will leave you in the same condition.
You see, feelings are fleeting. Feelings lie. Christ remains the same, always. His mercy, His standards, His grace. It never changes. This is inevitably more attractive than exalting your own standards and your own feelings, if you have even a basic understanding the Gospel. The message that you should “give yourself grace” (something I hear quite often) is an incredibly heavy burden to bear when it becomes your view of life in general. God has already given us abundant grace through Jesus. Even heavier, is the notion that you should be your own savior or that you and your feelings alone can guide you through life.
The ugly truth is that most of us would be lying if we said our feelings weren’t directing us to sin an overwhelming majority of the time. My feelings lead me to doubting and disrespecting my husband. My feelings lead me to putting off things that need to be done. My feelings lead me to be unforgiving of those who have hurt me. My feelings lead me to be jealous of my neighbor because they have something that I don’t. My feelings lead me to worry what others think of me. My feelings lead me to respond to my children in anger. These are just a few examples of how feelings are mechanisms of the flesh that motion us to serve ourselves above Christ. This is not to say all feelings are bad and we should just be emotionless, moralist robots. Obviously the feelings that guide you to generosity and compassion and love for others are important feelings. The point is, it is our decision, our job, to decide if we will indulge in our own feelings and allow them to rule over us or if we will consistently seek the wisdom to know what feelings will ultimately glorify God and which will not.
“Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgement.”Ecclesiastes 11:9
“I say then; Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”Galatians 5:16
I read somewhere, “There is no freedom in this life. You are either a slave to Christ or a slave to sin.” I have come to believe this wholeheartedly. These words convict me daily. If you are a slave to anything but Christ, you are a slave to sin. There is no grey area, there are no other options. It is that simple. We all fall short but that does not minimize the fact that we make the choice to embrace Christ or embrace sin every single day, in everything we do.
So, to anyone who may be reading this, I encourage you to consider carefully who you passively or actively choose to glorify in your day to day life. You or God. I also encourage you to beware of the constant messages of self-exaltation. Satan is always seeking to plant seeds in our hearts and minds. Be cautious with your soul and do not allow your feelings to lead you away from Christ.
“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”2 Corinthians 11:3