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There was a Mary Tyler Moore movie called “What’s So Bad About Feeling Good”. One might see in the title a theme for our society ever since the 1960s. Perhaps it can be helpful to ask if feeling good is an objective or a result. Seeking after feeling good as an objective is a little like putting the cart before the horse. If one lives a life of selflessness and raises a family navigating through all the perils of this life, one might find feeling good a satisfying result. If one pursues that which feels good as an objective, others tend to be seen as less important than satisfying one’s own need to feel good. The alcoholic and opiate addict are extreme examples of the self orientation to which this path leads. Even at a less intense level, one often finds that feeling good can be transient and lead to a consumptive life chasing a hunger that is never quite satisfied.
For Christians the “feel good” culture is especially dangerous. One is less inclined to grow in faith, discern deceptions, or seek after truth. There is an intrinsic opposition between truth and feelings. Truth is absolute, unchangeable, and reflects God, who is truth. Feelings are individual and resist truth (Jer 17:9). Christians are called to selflessness (2 Cor 5:15) to show a love that is essentially selfless (1 Cor 13:4-7). This requires us to forgo seeking after what makes us feel good.
The path of truth does have good feelings that are consequential. However. these feelings are different than those that arise from the direct pursuit of feelings. The pursuit of feeling good is usually done to please the flesh. That the body enjoys pleasure and comfort is well known. What is less often sought are the good feelings that come from the Spirit (transcendent peace instead of comfort, joy instead of sensory stimulation, or the patient love of a mother for her child even when he has a tantrum.
The fact that one person likes classical music and another likes rap music and neither can understand why the other can tolerate their music preference indicates that we have a lot of freedom to select what we find enjoyable. Today many people slip into a comfortable marijuana haze as their years slip away, is not so different from an alcoholic haze, TV haze, or even a haze filled with various activities. It is similar to a very slow suicide because it results in the loss of eternal life. The rich man used to illustrate life after death in Luke 16 is told that in his life he had his comforts but now he has torments. This is even before any judgment and may suggest that the choice of a comfortable life now may contribute to significant discomfort after death..
For the Christian who truly trusts in the gospel and is placed in the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit there is no fear of torments. However, there may be shame at having wasted the opportunity to grow in faith, draw closer to God, minister to others, or even guide our children away from the deceptions of the world. (Rom 14:10, 1 Cor 3:15, 2 Cor 5:10)
Satan has designed the course of the world to be seductive to the flesh. We might think that because we have avoided “big” sins, that we have fulfilled all that God wants of us. However, if we can shake of the slumber that so easily brings us to Christian dormancy, we may be able to see the path the world is on and the destruction to which it is headed. This perspective alone may be sufficient to rouse us.
Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
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