In order to appropriately respond to feelings, it is vital that you have a firm grounding in the Word of God and are planted in fresh soil the body of Christ, surrounded by the environment of other mature believers.
Only then can you learn to be led by the Spirit and discover how to receive, translate and interpret the language of your soul, or feelings.
Grounded in the Word
It is essential to a have a good foundation, a good root system of the truth of God’s Word in your heart and mind.
After all, unless you are grounded in biblical wisdom, you can’t expect to respond properly to your emotional perceptions.
Your feelings must be fully surrendered to the lordship of Christ and the truth of God’s Word because they are nowhere near as reliable as the Word.
It is all-important that you learn to interpret your feelings through the lens that the Word of God provides.
Especially when you encounter difficult times, you must turn to the Word to God to make sure your mind and emotions are renewed daily and that you are responding properly and not overreacting.
Grounded in the Church
To be well-grounded requires being well-planted in the first place—being firmly rooted and growing steadily.
The best soil in which to grow is found in the body of Christ.
As you participate regularly in corporate worship and fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and as you listen to sound teaching about God’s truth, you will flourish.
That is the way to find your special place in the body, and that is how you learn to work together with others under the leadership of the Spirit.
When hard times threaten to overwhelm you, you are much more likely to flourish if you are part of a local church and not off on your own somewhere.
Your health, the degree of your spiritual growth, and the fruit you bear are all dependent on the quality of your root system and the care you give to it.
Led By the Spirit
After you have established a strong root system, you can explore what it means to be led by the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not “out there” somewhere, hiding and invisible, but rather is dwelling within your own spirit.
The glory of Jesus Christ has been and continues to be revealed to you, thanks to the Holy Spirit.
Being indwelt by the Spirit occurs through your faith by your purposeful invitation and consent.
Many believers are little aware of the Spirit’s presence; they don’t feel anything.
But, for Feelers, being filled with the Spirit is more likely to be accompanied by tangible manifestations. This helps you become conscious of the Holy Spirit and may assist you in learning to operate in tune with the Spirit.
You probably grew up accustomed to being led by your soul—often defined as the mind, the will, and the emotions—and doing things on your own.
But once you met your Savior and gave your life to Him, you must surrender your feelings and start to learn how to walk all over again—how to respond to the Spirit of Christ dwelling in union with your spirit.
You have been granted the great privilege of learning to function effectively in a wonderfully dynamic relationship with Holy Spirit.
Spirit, Soul, and Body
Humans are brilliantly complex beings, created in the image of God.
Only after you have surrendered yourself to the Lord Jesus can you begin to fully appreciate and operate out of your God-designed self.
“Spirit, soul and body.” You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a physical body.
Compared with your spirit, your soul is not “bad,” and neither is your body.
Your soul is, all at the same time, a receiver, a translator, and an interpreter.
You cannot detect and understand a radio signal unless you have a radio receiver.
Likewise, without your soul, you cannot begin to understand the information that your senses take in.
The human soul is the receiver of information and revelation from multiple sources, receiving input by listening and watching attentively through all of its sensory “gateways,” including what I like to term the sixth sense, the gateway of knowing.
Your soul translates the impulses into “readable” signals, interpreting them in accordance with your existing filters, prejudices, and background.
Some of this information further imprints your soul “filter” as it is received, translated, and interpreted. Your mind and emotions react to the information.
Renewing Your Soul – or Feelings
One of the great benefits of your new life in Christ is that you get to refresh and renew your soul.
Enemies of your soul, both external and internal, are out to infect you with lies.
Once you identify these lies, the Holy Spirit will show you how to turn around and adopt godly beliefs in their place. Repentance and forgiveness will always be first steps of dismantling these lies.
As you open your heart to God’s light, and as the truth of the situation becomes apparent, be quick to take responsibility for any ungodly beliefs you may have been harboring.
Do whatever He shows you, and ask Him for the courage and fortitude you need to carry it out.
Yield the Right of Way
Give God total control of your life—total jurisdiction over its management.
Don’t knowingly retain any rights and be quick to surrender anew if you revert to controlling some aspect of your life.
Turn over your preconceived prejudices and your soul wounds so you can freely go wherever He directs you.
Without dictating to the Holy Spirit what He should do in you or how He should use you, you can nevertheless be ready and willing to cooperate with Him, even when you realize that His intention is to excavate and rebuild your soul.
So how do you, as a sensitive member of the body of Christ, appropriately respond to your feelings and emotions?
You do it by being renewed by God’s Word one day at a time.
This will enable you to say yes to Him every day, with joy.
Then you will be a clean, more whole candidate to receive, sense, and feel the Holy Spirit’s impulses and know how to properly respond.
Prayer of a Passionate Heart
Father, You know I want to learn how to properly respond to Your work in my soul. I want to respond rather than react out of my existing worldview, which includes various false ideas and perceptions. Guide me into healing and sanctification. Identify my wounds, many of which I have fostered and excused. Move in on the ungodly misbeliefs that have chained my soul in captivity. Teach me how to identify them, and help me to replace them with new and godly beliefs based on Your Word. Anoint my neglected Feeler realm as it comes into alignment with Your Word, will, and ways. I surrender myself to being led by Your Holy Spirit from this time forward. I pray all this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
Led by the Spirit!
James W. Goll
This article was adapted from Chapter 5: “How to Respond to Feelings” in The Feeler book by James W. Goll.
If you want to surrender your feelings to the leadership of the Spirit, you will love James Goll’s book The Feeler. When you order the book, you will also receive 12 bonus devotionals from James W. Goll that correspond with each chapter! Order your copy and learn to appropriately respond to your feelings and emotions today!