Do you ever find yourself in a war with yourself? I have. In fact, I sense I’m in the battle right now. We all do. King David did. Often this battle is waged between what seem to be two opposing forces inside of us, but there is a third force that trumps those two.
Yesterday I read Psalm 22, in which King David went back and forth between what his heart was telling him and what his mind was saying was true. Click here now to read Psalm 22 in a separate window. It’s a war between your feelings and your reason, between your emotions and your intelligence.
In verses 1 and 2, David feels as if God has forsaken him, that he is distant. His heart feels ignored by God.
In verses 3-5, it seems like David is trying to convince his mind of some facts about God. He states, But I know you are holy. I look to history and see you’ve been involved in people’s lives.Looking at how God has acted before in our lives or the lives of others often helps us see the truth more clearly.
In verses 6-8, David goes back to feelings. These verses, as well as much of Psalm 22, are Messianic. These foreshadow what would happen to Jesus at the cross. But David was feeling this himself here as well. His heart was troubled not only by God’s apparent silence, but by what people were saying about him. This is his heart speaking again, and this can feel very real and be very difficult as we walk through dark valleys (Psalm 23:4).
As in verse 3, David begins verse 9 with he word yet. He puts his heart on hold for a moment to reengage his mind about what he knows is true. This is very healthy! Looking at his past reminds him of God’s goodness. Earlier he looked at the lives of people who went before him. Now he looks back at how God has worked in his own life.
In verses 11-21, David goes back to his feelings and pleads to God for help. David’s emotions are raw and they are real. They are based on the dire circumstances of his life. He was hurting. He really had been betrayed. He was probably alone, hence he felt lonely. He had very real enemies who wanted to inflict very real pain on him.
I’ve been there. I am there right now. And perhaps so are you. You have very real life circumstances that don’t seem fair. You are hurting and alone. You’ve been betrayed and maybe there are even people who could do harm to you if you let them. All this can be said about King Jesus as well as King David. He understands what you and I are going through because he went through it himself
Like David and Jesus, take your pleas to God. Seek his strength and comfort (see Psalm 23:1-2). Ask him to rescue you!
David turns to praise in verse 22. His ultimate purpose through all he was going through was to bring glory to God … to worship him and to tell others about him. This is worship-evangelism! Whatever we go through in life as a Christ-follower should lead us to this same place — worshiping God and telling others about him.
In verse 24, David again engages his mind. Note that even though David felt like God had forsaken him, he now proclaims the truth — that God has not ignored his people in need, that he has not turned and walked away, that he has listened to his people as they cry out to him for help. This is a remarkable verse and shows the remarkable faith of King David.
This is important. Like David, we should be in touch with our feelings, but we should not let them rule us. We also must be in touch with the truth of God’s Word and choose to obey it regardless of how we feel. We find balance there and decide to believe God’s truth, not our feelings.
In verse 25, after all of this back-and-forth between David feelings and mind, the third force enters in and takes over. Now we hear from his will. Notice: “I will praise you … I will fulfill all my vows…” The will has the final say.Why? Quite simply, “for the Lord is King” (verse 28).
Perhaps you feel like giving up on something or someone. Maybe you feel like giving in to anger or self-centeredness or an addiction. Perhaps you’ve made a vow that you don’t feel like keeping. Maybe you feel like God is not near and you can’t get back to him. It’s time for the will to take over! It’s time to say, “Not my will, but yours be done.” It’s time to surrender your feelings and perhaps what your own mind is telling you and allow God to lead you on his path (Psalm 23).
Start with verse 25 and say, “I will praise you … I will fulfill my vows.” Let God’s will have the final say.
What do you think about this? How have you seen your feelings and mind collide? How has your will helped win the war?
For more on this subject, read “The War Between the Heart and Mind” on the Ultimate Productivity Mastership Blog.