Feelings were created by God and are in and of themselves a good thing. Feelings and emotions make us who we are. But feelings can be used by the devil as weapons to get us to turn from God and sin. Some of the best arguments that support something bad are based entirely on feelings. Take gay marriage as an example. Too many people have bought into the argument that just because two people feel love for each other that they should be allowed to marry one another. This reduces the purpose of marriage down to nothing more than a response to feelings. It totally neglects the designed purpose and reason for marriage. A screwdriver makes a really good pry bar but that is not what it was designed for or its intended purpose.
The devil loves feelings. Feelings are easily manipulated and some of the strongest motivators in our lives. Satan wants us to feel. God wants us to be. When we feel we are much less likely to do. The devil wants us to feel charitable. When we feel as if we are charitable we are much less likely to do charitable things. God wants us to be charitable. The devil wants us to feel love because we will be less likely to be loving. God wants us to be love. The devil wants a feeling; God wants action.
Love is not a feeling even though we feel love. Love is an action, it is something you do. It is something you do even if you don’t have the feeling that goes with it. To love someone is to will the best for them. You do this despite how you feel at any moment in time. You can be mad at somebody. You can be hurt by them. You can feel hatred towards them. As long as you still will the best for that person you love them. When you will the best for your enemy you love them. We are commanded to love everyone. We are commanded to will the best for everyone despite how we feel about them. The devil wants us to ignore the action and concentrate on the feeling.
We fast to exercise our will. We fast to demonstrate to the devil and to ourselves that we are in control of our feelings and our wills. It is a Lenten Friday and my feelings are screaming to me that I want a fat, juicy cheeseburger. I exercise my will to say no to the intensified desire for meat on Friday. Anything exercised becomes stronger. Anything not exercised atrophies. When we don’t exercise our wills to do that which is right we become a slave to our feelings. When all we do is feel we cease to act.