The Holy Spirit or Emotionalism?

So many times we hear Christians say “I felt the Holy Spirit today” or “I was over come by the Holy Spirit and it felt…” But how do they know and how do we know it was in fact the person of the Trinity- The Holy Spirit- and not our own human feeling and emotions (or a different spirit for that matter)?

First we must ask:  Can we feel things apart from the Holy Spirit that is caused by ourselves or another spiritual force?  The obvious answer yes.  
So knowing we can the next logical question is: How do we know what is causing our feelings?
Can we idolize and worship our own feelings and not God?
 
Yes.  Like addicts, they seek to satisfy a lacking sensation that makes them feel good, content, satisfied, or any other feeling they desire and feel they need.  So the addicted desire and seek things that bring about that feeling they want.  The feeling becomes their end result, ends to the means, and final hope.  Thus their feeling are their god and they will use god to get it.

Then what about the feelings people get when they sing out loud, dance around, and allow themselves to get caught up in the loud sounds and flashing lights of worship?  The exhilarating rush of excitement and happiness when they hear heir favorite worship song.  The feeling of being around your friends and family in an exciting worship frenzy.  Can that also be what people seek, desire, idolize, and worship and not God?  Yes.

Prepare your self for this statement:  The Holy Spirit is not a ‘spiritual high’.  He also does not cause a ‘spiritual high’ that alleviates when church is over.

He is a person, not a feeling.  So if that feeling leaves you when you leave church, its not Him.  If that feeling leaves when the preacher opens the word of God and you don’t get that same feeling when the word of God is read, its not Him.  He forever changes your life and your world around you- in subtle ways and in major ways.  Either way, he is in you, empowering you, and changing you- never leaving you.

If you are a believer, you are filled by the Holy Spirit.  He lives in you, empowers you with faith every day and continually draws your heart to God.  If you are truly worshiping God, it is in the spirit and does not leave you because you are spiritually alive and spiritually with The Holy Spirit as He enables you to worship God. 

This is NOT to say He wont make you feel certain ways or certain things.  He convicts people of sin.  That is not a very good feeling.  When we are convicted of something wrong- a bad feeling follows.  He also produces true Joy in us as well.  And joy can result in a very good feeling.  He gives us peace, which can result in a feeling of contentment. 

But the same idea of Faith before Works applies here too.  Just as Faith WILL produce good Works; The Holy Spirit can make you have a range of feelings and emotions.  Just as Works DO NOT cause saving Faith; Our feelings and emotions do not then prove the Holy Spirit is the cause.  Always keep in mind that our flesh and our sins effect our feelings and emotions too.  Just because we feel something doesn’t mean by default it was from God.  Just because we are in church singing, does mean by default our feelings are from God either.  Even while we are singing, our flesh is still sinful.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you only ‘feel the Holy Spirit’ during certain kinds of music (your favorite songs)?
  • Do you ‘feel the Holy Spirit’ in the teaching of His Word as much as a certain kind of music?
  • Does the ‘feel of the spirit’ leave when church is over?
  • Are other churches you have attended not ‘spirit filled’ like the one you like?

How you answer these questions points you to whether or not your feelings are the focus of your worship or The Holy Spirit causes your feelings.  If you only ‘feel the spirit’ during your favorite songs and not when His word is being preached and you feel like the spirit is not present when you leave church or other churches are not spirit filled, then deep down inside, you are most likely focused on you and your feelings and not God.  Thus not worshiping God in spirit.

We are commanded to worship God in SPIRIT AND TRUTH (John 4:24).  And God is not limited to church walls or musical interments or not. We can praise him everywhere in everyway he finds pleasing.  We can worship God anywhere in anyway he finds pleasing to His glory.

Lasting Joy, spiritual maturity, spiritual satisfaction, and spiritual contentment are a result from worshiping God in spirit and truth.  We are worshiping in spirit and delight in his truths of who he is, what he has done, and what he is doing for us and all the world; The Holy Spirit fills us with joy, matures our souls, satisfies our hearts, and makes us content with in Him.

  • He is our desire, not our feelings we get when we sing. 
  • He is our focus of worship, not a certain song or certain church style.
  • He is our lasting Hope, not a feeling addiction that we need to try and satisfy every Sunday.

TEST YOUR HEART:

Do a simple heart check.  Attend a different church.  Go to their website and see what they believe and read their statement of faith to see if they are in fact a Gospel focused, Christ Centered, Bible teaching, missional church.  If they are; attend.  See if you get the same “feelings”.

You SHOULD be able to worship God there just the same; and make some new friends in the process.  If you can’t; that’s not a lack of the Holy Spirit.  That church would not affirm the true gospel, and the true Christ if it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit to begin with.  To believe what they believe, they must be filled by the spirit.  To teach what they teach, they are worshiping God in truth already.  Ask your self: “Why can’t I worship God here”?  And the answer to this would be clear.  You worship the feelings you get from that other church.

Road Blocks of Your Heart:

  • Do you have a problem with the style of music? 
  • Do you have a problem with the songs that are chosen (as long as they are faithful to truth in their lyrics)
  • Do you have a problem with how little they sing? 
  • Do you have a problem with what kind of interments they use?
  • Do you have a problem with how long they read the bible?

All these are not evidences of the lack of the Holy Spirit.  These are evidences of your dependence on your own self and your own feelings- too much on your self and not enough on God.

Make sure Emotionalism is not your god.

Make sure you are worshiping God and not yourself through your feelings.

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