When I was a young Christian in High school, I remember attending a Christian Youth Conference/Rally in which I will keep nameless. The first time I went, it was like nothing I have ever experienced. You see I was a small town, Baptist boy who only ever grew up to organ/piano duos, and a tone deaf choir. Being thrown into the relative, loud, youth friendly environment, was a pleasant shock to me, but this overly emotional form of the Christian faith ended up hurting me more than it helped me.. Now please take note, I am not commenting on loud youth rallies, rocking worship music, or a relative, contemporary, post-modern worship time, because I actually help lead and organize a service that could be put under some of these categories. This change was such a shock to me, and I being a young believer, not mature enough yet in my faith to realize what was happening, became a ruler of my emotions. This emotionalism created in me a weak and fluctuating faith, based on how I was feeling that day.
I think we, as Christians, should be very careful with emotionalism, not just in worship, but in all aspects of faith in our lives. You see the human heart is corrupt and deceitful. This is not just my pessimistic opinion, it’s what the bible teaches.
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
You see despite the thought of optimists in this modern age, the human heart is inherently evil. It can’t be trusted. When we allow our emotions to rule and control our lives, we create a relationship with God that has more highs and lows than a mountain range. This is a characteristic of immaturity in the Christian faith. When we rely on the truth of God to control us, then we can enter in to a sturdy, steady relationship with God. Although there are still high points and low points, the difference between the two is that they are not as nearly drastic. I have seen a walk with Christ based on emotionalism hinder my own faith, and many other friends. I want to take a few moments to discuss just one specific caution out of the many, about the dangers of emotionalism that concerns me.
Tell me if you have heard this one before, “God told me I need to date this person” or “God told me to do this or that”. The thing that amazes me about most Christians who say this is how quickly God changes his mind. The more I listen to these people, I begin to believe that God must be schizophrenic. I have actually heard a believer tell me that God wanted him to date this person, whom He knew nothing about, and she also lived thousands of mile away. Needless to say after a week, God changed his mind. I’ve heard the same thing from people concerning missions, giving, serving, and many more. I believe that God can lead you and reveal things to you through your human emotions, but remember the human heart is in its nature evil. As a result, the wisest thing to do is to “test and approve” what God’s will is. (Romans 12:2) You can do this by first and foremost, by making sure it does not contradict God’s word. If it ever violates a clear command in scripture than it’s a no brainer; DON’T DO IT. It’s not what God is telling you. The second way you can approve what God’s will is through the validation of the Christian leaders and mentors in your life. If the people closest to you think it’s a bad idea, you might want to think twice before doing it. In conclusion, discovering the will of God can be tricky sometimes, but never ever let your emotions be the only deciding factor. I have found it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to emotionalism.