09 Apr Children’s Thematic Message 4: My Feelings And Me
Objectives of the message
To help the children know that God has created them with feelings, but their feelings have been subjected to the wrong influence by the evil one ever since their fall.
To let the children know that it is not wrong to have feelings, but it is wrong to trust every of their feelings and follow their feelings all the time.
To help the children know how to verify their feelings by the Word of God.
To instill in the children the need and habit to pray once their feelings do not coincide with the Word of God, and thereby learn to reject the wrong feelings.
To help the children to be strong in their heart through learning how to think and make judgment by testing God’s will, even though their circumstances are not pleasant.
To help the children learn how to let their feelings be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Bible Verses to Read and Memorize
Verses to Read:
<1 John 2:15-17>
<2 Timothy 3:13-17>
Verses to Memorize:
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools. – Jeremiah 17: 10-11
Main theme: Understand my feelings and let the Holy Spirit take charge of them
Critical viewpoints to understand about the scripture:
<Mat 26:36-38>: As human beings, we all have feelings, Jesus had feelings too. See, when Jesus knew he was about to be betrayed and killed, he was sorrowful, troubled, and overwhelmed. Similarly, we all have feelings. Sometimes, we feel happy, contented, loved, confident, etc, yet sometimes we feel sad, angry, hateful, fearful, shameful, etc. A lot of times, our feelings are affected by our circumstances. Yet, we must know that behind our feelings exist the workings of the spiritual realm, either by the Holy Spirit or the Evil spirit.
<Mat 26:39-42>: Jesus did not give in to feelings. Therefore, when he was overwhelmed, he prayed. And the focus of his prayer was to seek and obey the Father’s will, not what he felt at that moment. Yet, for the disciples, they gave in to their feelings. They were feeling very tired and gave in to flesh, thus Satan came for them.
<Mat 26:50-54>: Having prayed, Jesus was full of courage and determination to fulfill God’s will in his heart. Therefore, He let Himself be arrested willingly by trusting the Father God fully, though He had the authority to command the angels to fight for Him. But the disciples who did not pray, was filled with feelings of anger and resorted to violence (their own way of resolving problems), and thus they drew their swords to fight.
<1 Jn 2:15-17>: Love the World = Do not love the Father. Must know that our fallen nature will always influence our hearts (feelings) to love the world and to crave for everything in it. Therefore, we always react by the flesh (judge directly by what we see and hear), and exalt our own sovereignty (self-centeredness, selfishness, self-benefit). Our fallen nature will never align our feelings with God’s word and will.
<2 Ti 3:13-17>: Evil men follow totally according to what they feel. Therefore, they keep on desiring more of this world to satisfy their own flesh. Thus, they deceive others to follow their way, yet they are also being deceived by their feelings (which are controlled by Satan). But only those who know the Holy Scripture (Word of God) are able to train their heart and mind not to follow their feelings, but to pray against the wrong feelings, restore the right feelings, and do the good works that God wants them to do.
Explaining and Expounding the Scripture
Think through, how do our feelings deceive us many a times?
Answer: First, by making us think that what we feel is true. Second, by acting in accordance to them. In fact, so many people today have fallen prey to their feelings by believing what they feel is true. When they feel lousy and guilty of their weakness, they think God no longer loves them; when they feel frustrated, they just rant at their parents and siblings; when they feel sad, they just close themselves up or seek meaningless enjoyment; when they feel hateful towards another person, they just get into fights; when they feel fearful, they just tell lies; when they feel lacking, they just steal. Isn’t it true that we have so many times given into our feelings, and we try to do things to only make ourselves feel better? But by doing so, we may not really get our negative feelings resolved in the end.
When and why did our feelings start to turn against God?
Answer: When sin came into our lives, all our feelings turned against God. When sin entered Adam and Eve, both of them became fearful to the loving God. They started to think and feel the wrong way towards God (i.e. God came to punish them only). From there, they reacted the wrong way towards God, and started to do things that God did not want them to do, or not do the things God wanted them to do. The same thing happens to us too. All our feelings go against God’s will when sin is unresolved in our lives. Sometimes, we could be doing something right, but our feelings are not in sync with our actions. For instance, we may come to church, but we do not feel happy. We may treat our friends nicely outwardly, but we do not feel any love for them. We may not steal, but we always feel lacking compared to others. As it is, when our feelings turn against God and go for what we want, we are even further away from the love, happiness and thanksgiving that God has given us.
How can our feelings be made right again?
Answer: Our feelings can only be made right through Christ’s redemption of our sins, and the truth and Holy Spirit that HE brings to us. First, under the bondage of sins, man refuses to yield to God, thus he will continue to believe and act according to his feelings. But with Christ’s redemption, the stubbornness of sin is removed. With that, man admits his foolishness and helplessness to God and hands over his sovereignty to Him. So from then on, he will come before God’s truth and be moulded by the Truth. He will verify and sanctify his feelings with the truth. The Holy Spirit will also help him and speak to him through God’s truth. E.g. When he feels angry, the Holy Spirit will speak to him the love of God, to soften him. When he feels upset, the Holy Spirit will speak God’s comforting words to him, to lift him. When he feels fearful, the Holy Spirit will speak God’s helpful words to him, to liberate him. So, isn’t it wonderful that Christ has come to redeem our feelings?
Can our feelings be used to glorify and serve God?
Answer: Yes. Our feelings are in fact very powerful if they are shaped by the truth of God. E.g. When we feel sad that our friends didn’t come to Christ, we are actually feeling sad in God’s will. That sadness will move God to work. When we feel angry about people misusing God’s name or doing things to harm people, God will exercise justice through our anger. When we have feelings of compassion for people who are suffering, God will heal and comfort them through our compassion. When we write a card or preach the word of God with passion to evangelize, what we have written or spoken will turn the hearts of men to God. So can you give more examples on how our feelings can be used by God? Remember, the bottom line is: Our feeling can glorify God when it is in sync with God’s will.
What do you do if your feelings that are not in sync with God’s truth strike you?
Answer: More often than not, Satan uses negative happenings and words of men around us to give us the wrong feelings. Then he goes further to reinforce those feelings by his insinuations and makes us react according to those feelings. Jesus has shown us the best example by praying. There are a lot of times we do not wish to pray when we are carried away by our feelings. But that is the time we must use prayer against the flaming arrow of the evil one. Yet, there are also some who say that “praying doesn’t help”. Why is it so? This is because many Christians pray only to hope that their situations change. But prayer is not about changing our circumstances, but to change our hearts by the truth of God. When we exercise the truth of God in our hearts, that is called true prayer! For example: When people say negative things against us, prayer is to affirm the truth in our hearts: “If God is for us, who can be against us”. Then the feelings of lousiness and grievances will vanquish (meaning: Satan driven away). With that, Children, can you come up with a few examples on how to vanquish feelings that is not from God?
Critical Thinking and Practical Application
Benson feels that God loves him. This is because every time he prays to God and asks for something (for e.g. a toy car, a new pair of shoes, an ipad, etc), he will always receive it (either from someone or from his parents). Do you think that is the right way to feel about God’s love?
Answer: Yes and No. Yes, by getting what we ask for shows that God loves us and answers our prayers. But that is also not the basis to see God’s love for us. God loves us through giving us His all, i.e. His only Son. So HE always gives us the best. Sometimes, God loves us by not giving us things we ask for because it will not do us any good, or He wants us to wait for the best time to give us what we really need. So we do not use our feelings to judge God’s love, but believe God’s unchanging love and have the right feelings about God.
Jenny has a brother who always pisses her off. He quarrels with her, and sometimes fights with her over trivial matters. One day, she tells her mother, “Mum, I hate him, I rather he don’t come home and I’ll be happier. But I wouldn’t be happier if he falls sick or get beaten up by someone”. Now, do you think Jenny really don’t love her brother?
Answer: No. In reality, God has already put in us the love of kinship for our family members. In fact, Jenny is hurt, which is why she focuses on what she feels, but she realizes that she will not be any happier if her brother meets with misfortune. So what she must do is not to entertain her hateful feeling, which is only a deception of Satan, but to look to God’s love. She can pray for God to change her brother, but she must also pray for herself to understand her brother’s personality better, which is different from hers. Moreover, everyone has his or her own weaknesses but Jesus still came to love us and die for us all.
Jess is easily overwhelmed by her emotions. She cries or gets worked up easily. People around her are affected by her, including her Sunday school friends. They feel that she is oversensitive and emotional and they do not like to be friends with her. What do you think about Jess, and are her friends’ actions justified?
Answer: First, we cannot blame Jenny for being born emotional. Everyone is born different and is wired differently inside. If Jess is born an emotional person, she must first, use her emotion for the kingdom, by using it to show care and concern for her friends, and touch people to know Christ with her compassion. Second, she must know how to manage her emotion with the help of the Holy Spirit, such that she must learn to seek God’s will in all things. Once her heart is inclined to seek God’s will, her emotions will be manageable, and she will not be too sensitive over trivial matters. As for her friends, instead of ostracizing her, they must learn to seek God’s will to help her too. In fact, everyone has their shortfalls, but if we dislike someone because of their shortfalls, we have also unconsciously fallen into Satan’s trap.
Ronald prays faithfully every morning but he realizes he is still always affected by negative situations. E.g. He complains when there is too much homework; he gets upset when his friends say unpleasant things to him. He gets grouchy when his parents don’t buy the food he wishes to eat. Now, what is wrong with his prayers?
Answer: He may have prayed, but he didn’t think through the word of God in his heart and mind. In fact, prayer is thinking through the word of God and seeking God’s will in our situation. With that, the Holy Spirit will slowly take charge of our feelings. Yet, if we pray ritually or only pray when we need things from God, we will realize we still can’t control our feelings.
Francis has learned about this lesson on “feelings and me”. He hopes to have the right feelings in God all the time. Yet sometimes, he realizes he cannot. For e.g. he still feels frustrated doing homework, he still feels tired coming to Sunday school, he still dislikes his sister who always annoys him. So should he wait for his feelings to turn good and willing before he carries out the will of God? Answer: No. We must know that as human beings, we are being subject to spiritual attacks all the time. We can’t have 100 percent right feelings all the time. But the key is learning to do the right thing even when we don’t feel good. This is because our feelings will change, yet the will of God never change. E.g. finish our homework even when we don’t like to do it, come to church even when we’re tired, care for our siblings even when they annoy us at times. As we do all these, look to God and do so, as if you are doing for God. Then slowly in the midst of that, we will experience the Holy Spirit transform our hearts and make right all our feelings.
*Teachers can think of more examples to get children into critical thinking and practical applications if need be. (This material can be more engaging through your living prayers and applications. So teachers, put in your best effort to confirm and teach!). However, if you do need help on some answers for the case studies above, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*It will be good to read through the scripture and notes thoroughly before teaching. Have a good grasp with the message, together with some testimonies, so that you could relate things accurately to our young minds.