‘It Seems Right To Me’
Are you a sensuous Christian?
In order to speak accurately about what is true or false, right or wrong, one needs objective standards by which to measure such things. Without absolute standards by which we can judge, cultures will quickly fall apart. For example we have things such as the rule of law which informs us that we are all equally subject to the law.
We have various types of measurements which help us in everything from baking to construction to travel. We have tuning forks which help us get all our musical instruments in sync. We have universal weights and the like. So much of our life involves measuring up to certain standards.
Life would be chaotic without such external standards of measurement and comparison. At a very simple level, we have agreed upon standards for motorists. A red light informs us to stop while a green light indicates that we may go. At a deeper level, we have laws against murder, so that the universal good of the sanctity of life might be maintained.
But increasingly in the West we are abandoning all notions of objective truth and objective morality. Sure, we still use measuring cups as we seek to bake a cake, and we still use maps or a GPS to tell us how many miles or kilometres we have remaining on our journey.
But when it comes to making choices about what is right and wrong, or even what is true or false, we are more and more using our own personal subjective opinions and tastes as our guide. Instead of relying on the truths of biology, we are telling children if they feel that they are a different sex, they should go for it.
Instead of respecting the property rights of others, we convince ourselves that we can just take stuff that belongs to them. We rationalise our behaviours, because it seems like the right thing to do. How many spouses will run off with another partner because it ‘felt so right’? As we continue to abandon standards of what is true and what is right, we end up doing whatever seems good at the time – no matter how bad such choices may actually be.
The value of universally acknowledged standards is still part of any civilised society. Consider just one example of this. When I first came to Australia, I learned about a major problem this nation had when it came to the size of different railroad tracks. Without uniformity in this, all sorts of trouble arose. As one piece on this says:
Rail gauges in Australia display significant variations, which has presented an extremely difficult problem for rail transport on the Australian continent for over 150 years. As of 2014, there are 11,801 kilometres (7,333 mi) of narrow-gauge railways, 17,381 kilometres (10,800 mi) of standard gauge railways and 3,221 kilometres (2,001 mi) of broad gauge railways. In the 19th century, each of the colonies of Australia adopted their own gauges. However, with Federation in 1901 and the removal of trade barriers, the short sightedness of three gauges became apparent. It would be 94 years before all mainland state capitals were joined by one standard gauge.
Imagine if today every time someone built some new tracks they simply ran with whatever size they felt like using. It would be every man for himself and the end of national train services. But that is where we are now at with so many moral and cultural choices.
It is every man for himself. People decide for themselves what is right and wrong. They tend to let their emotions solely guide them. And trouble always results. While we might expect non-Christians to operate this way, we sadly find plenty of Christians doing exactly the same thing.
I personally know of a number of people who once claimed to be good Christians who decided to ditch their spouse and take up with a new partner – all because it felt so good. Instead of committing themselves to what was right – in this case, to their God and to their wedding vows – they simply ran with what looked good and felt good to them.
Too many trusted their ‘heart’ on such things. ‘Oh, my heart would not lie to me.’ ‘I feel good about this.’ ‘My conscience is clear on this.’ Yeah right. Never mind that Scripture tells us quite clearly that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Never mind that our conscience can become seared, as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). Never mind that believers were never meant to run their lives solely on their fleeting feelings and erratic emotions. But that is just how far too many Christians today operate. The absolutes of Scripture are not their guide, but their own wants and desires – even their own lusts.
Just today I was reading of another person who should have known better. The rather sad story of Samson as found in the book of Judges tells us how he too went with what his eyes saw and what his lusts desired. Consider the episode found in Jud. 14 where he craves a Philistine woman to be his wife. Twice we read that he ran with what was ‘right in his eyes’ (verses 3 and 7).
Of course that also fits in with one of the big themes in this book. In Judges 17:6 and 21:25 we read these words: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” We also find this in abbreviated form in 18:1 and 19:1. Like Samson, the folks simply went with what looked good, instead of what was right.
Let me share a bit of commentary on this theme. Barry Webb says the following:
Already in this opening scene of chapter 17 we are beginning to see the kind of situation that develops when there is no center to hold a society together and no generally accepted standard to which its members adhere. In that situation the only possible kind of religion is idolatry—religion that is self-made and self-serving and therefore essentially the worship of oneself. . . . Judges 17 is full of religious words, objects, activities, and persons, but none of it has been governed by respect for God’s Law or a desire to honor him as an end in itself. Rather this has all been about people using religion to serve their own interests…”
We see this happening all the time today. Christians of all people should understand that we are not to live our lives on the basis of what looks good, or on how we feel. It is the absolute and unchanging God that is our point of reference, and his inerrant Word that should guide us in all things.
As Proverbs 21:2 reminds us: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” And we find similar thoughts expressed in Isaiah 5:21: “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”
Our way of doing things and seeing things always seems right – until we actually measure things by God and his righteous and unchanging standards. Then we quickly learn how far off we have been. But too many believers today live as if they and they alone are the arbiter of truth and error, of right and wrong.
They decide what is right and then they run with it – regardless if it actually lines up with the will of God as revealed in Scripture. This is a very dangerous place to be in. Indeed, it can be a very good indication that the person living like this is not in fact a Christian at all.
The real Christian does things God’s way. He says no to self and yes to God. He does not live his life based on the whim of the moment, or the lusts of the flesh, or on what happens to look good. His every action and choice is done in alignment with the objective standards of God.
Let me finish with some wise words by R. C. Sproul from his helpful book, Knowing Scripture. In this passage he speaks about “sensuous Christians” and how far they are from actual Christian discipleship:
Many of us have become sensuous Christians, living by our feelings rather than through our understanding of the Word of God. Sensuous Christians cannot be moved to service, prayer or study unless they “feel like it.” Their Christian life is only as effective as the intensity of present feelings. When they experience spiritual euphoria, they are a whirlwind of godly activity; when they are depressed, they are a spiritual incompetent. They constantly seek new and fresh spiritual experiences, and use them to determine the Word of God. Their “inner feelings” become the ultimate test of truth.
Sensuous Christians don’t need to study the Word of God because they already know the will of God by their feelings. They don’t want to know God; they want to experience him. Sensuous Christians equate “childlike faith” with ignorance. They think that when the Bible calls us to childlike faith, it means a faith without content, a faith without understanding. They don’t know the Bible says, “In evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20). They don’t realize that Paul tells us again and again, “My beloved brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (see, for example, Rom 11:25)
Sensuous Christians go their merry way until they encounter the pain of life that is not so merry – and they fold. They usually end up embracing a kind of “relational theology” (a curse on modern Christianity) where personal relationships and experience take precedence over the Word of God. If the Scripture calls us to action that may jeopardize a personal relationship, then the Scripture must be compromised. The highest law of sensuous Christians is that bad feelings must be avoided at all cost.
7 Replies to “‘It Seems Right To Me’”
Wise and insightful, Bill.
The regrettable fruit of postmodernism in this era – a rejection of moral absolutes and authority – which has been foisted upon Generation Y and Millenials in their educational journey, and upon our culture generally through Hollywood and mainstream media.
Each one of us who values our Judeo Christian heritage, must explore and find how we individually can engage in our culture to restore its health and integrity.
God’s Blessed TRUTH in ALL it’s objectivity must be told NO MATTER how abhorrent it is to ‘sensitive’ aka politically correct or woke ears..
The Truth WILL be heard- We have God’s Word on that…
Thank YOU Abba Father
And, The Truth will be acted upon, if not now, tomorrow which God has ordained
Are YOU brave enough to open up the lines of communication in order for God’s Truth to be told?
From years ago, we heard the progressive ideological statement that “left is right and right is wrong” that in their progressive eyes that the “left is subjectively right and Right is objectively wrong”. The one and only subjective truth that modern progressive agree in total is what we know as the Objective Truth of Revealed Law of Scripture, Natural Laws and the Metaphysical Laws of Rationality & Reason.
What’s worse in those leaving their spouses is the ones who say God told it was time to move on or God lead me to (the other woman/man). They try to blame God for their actions based on their feelings.
Reminds me of a line from a song, we have a station here that plays old TV shows and happy days is played on it I sometimes end up catching the opening and or closing credits, it say “it feels so right it can’t be wrong”. The just assume that something bad would feel bad. Remind me of some Christians I once knew who insisted the way to tell if a dream was from God was if it was pleasant dream if was from God but if it was scary it was from satan.
The twentieth century and it exploitation of technology will go down as the most shameful time in Christianity. In fact from the 1870’s on we have been receding and as nature abhors a vacuum as we receded from areas of life satan increased in those areas. Quietly quietly he slowly took over right under our noses. When he sprang forth in the 60’s into the open he already had vast control of every institution he needed. It was simply a matter of time. So many may live for now and not think about tomorrow but satan has been very patient he has been living for tomorrow for a long time. It’s sad that he has more of a eternal view than we do.
We seem to separate this life and the next as though we can do whatever we want now and then in the next life we’ll do what God want. This one is OUR life the next one is GOD’S. We don’t connect the two and see how this life is preparation for the next. This life is the tryouts before the event. But without Jesus, the real Jesus not hippie Jesus, you can’t win the tryouts and get to the event. How many think they can just breeze through life doing anything they want then just repent on their deathbed and everything will be fine. They think repentance is some cheat code or loophole they can exploit so that they can have their sin and heaven too.
I wanted to share this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/360428776399876738/
Just a thought on feeling there are those who are poor yet feel rich because they have God and his blessings. Also is seems that since they can’t afford a higher education they are able to keep to absolutes, to objective truth, that the richer people have been educated out of. Sometimes th most educated are the dumbest and the least educated have profound wisdom.
It can happen to anyone. Elizabeth Johnston has been campaigning for years against abortion in particular, but in support of all things good in general. She has a very large family and homeschools them.
Just today she announced that she and her husband have separated. There are no details, but I can’t imagine it was her choice.
“But the painful truth is that, after 22 years of marriage, my husband and I are separated. It has been an extremely difficult year for us.”
Yet she has faithfully kept posting her campaigns through all this trauma, as you can see on her website and FB page. Only Satan could engineer an attack like this on a ministry so effective.
FYI that problem scrolling on safari is now back. I know you fixed it before so I just wanted to let you know so you could apply the same fix for you updated site.
for what it is worth infidelity IS biblical grounds for divorce. not what god prefers but is the only grounds he allows for the resolving of the union. it looks like this is from a year ago but still heart breaking given he too is supposed to be a christian. I feel for the children. My heart breaks for any child when parents divorce even in situations like this where she tried so hard for years to prevent divorce. while yes christians are subject to stumbles after years of infidelity porn and counseling is there anything left??