Vicissitudes and Feelings

Deuteronomy 12:8
“You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes…”

This was part of Moses’ warning and instruction to the children of Israel, prior to their entering of the Promised Land. It was meant to help establish boundaries or guardrails upon their lives. God’s laws and statutes (His Word) was meant to ground their hearts and minds, so that they would not go astray and drift according to their own desires and feelings when things got tough. Without God’s parameters to foster safety in an unsafe environment, the children of Israel were doomed to fail in the Promised Land. It was not possible for them to succeed without Him. Only when the children of Israel followed God, did life go well for them. And, when they didn’t follow God, doing whatever was right in their own eyes, that’s when tragedy struck.

Because we (Christians) live in a fallen world, we experience changes of circumstances or fortune, typically ones that are unwelcome or unpleasant. Such things are called vicissitudes. Vicissitudes challenge our fortitude. They challenge our courage when we are in pain or adversity. Vicissitudes can either trap or paralyze us, causing us to quit when we should not, or they can divert us from continuing on the path to which we should go. At such moments of testing, it is most tempting to rely on our feelings, rather than Christ. Such was the point of Moses’ warning to the children of Israel as they prepared to cross the Jordan: “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes…” To trust in their feelings rather than God, when vicissitudes stood in their way, meant disaster. The same goes for us. Christ is the only defeater of our roadblocks.

And sometimes…

It is our feelings which are the vicissitudes.

During the January 20th podcast from Stand to Reason, Greg Koukl put it very poignantly:

“Look, I’m looking at my own life here. And, just like anybody else, I am subject to the vicissitudes of living in a fallen world. And as such, I have to make decisions about how I’m going to think and how I’m going to act… that are not dependent on my feelings. Now, I’m not saying that my feelings play no role, but if I’m just going to follow my feelings, my feelings are all over the map. Follow your feelings, and you end up in a ditch. That’s the worst advice… to simply follow your feelings. That’s the advice you get from Hollywood all the time… from stupid movies. “What does your heart say?” No!!! You know, your feelings make life… wonderful. But, careful thinking makes life safe. You want to feel as wonderful as you can, AND keep safe… That’s why God draws us to the truth as it is, and we are to instruct our emotions with the truth. Not the other way around. That’s the tail wagging the dog.”


May we (Christians) must always remember to seek safety in Him and His Word, and not ourselves:

Psalms 119:117
“Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for Your statutes continually!”

Godspeed, to the brethren!


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