Emotions are real and part of being human. In fact, God created us as emotional beings. But problems result when we allow our emotions to control our thoughts, words, and actions. When that happens, we can quickly end up in a ditch, spiritually and relationally.
Today we’re beginning a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” I hope you’ll be here over the next few weeks while we look at emotions, how they affect us, and how we can handle them God’s way.
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.
Handling Emotions Biblically: Introduction
We just wrapped up a series on God’s design for marriage. If you missed it, you can access all the lessons here. Today we’re starting a new series on how to handle emotions so we don’t allow emotions to handle us.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing:
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering
They’re real. They’re often powerful. They’re, also, part of being human.
God Himself is described as having emotions.
The psalmist said, “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7.11b) and another psalm says, He laughs at His enemies (Ps. 2.4).
Genesis 6.6 says, “ And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
Numerous times we’re told God is a jealous God (Ex. 20.5; Josh. 24.10).
But He, also, has compassion on His servants (Ps. 135.14; Jud. 2.18; Deut. 32.36).
And He rejoices over His people (Zeph. 3.17).
We know that Jesus wept (Jn. 11.35) over sin and it’s results on His creation.
Isaiah said he was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53.3).
And Mark 6:34 says He had compassion on the multitudes who listened to Him.
That doesn’t mean God’s emotions and ours are always the same. When God expresses emotions, they are perfectly just and righteous, never sinful. He never has a bad day and He never changes His feelings toward His redeemed.
Emotions like anger and fear often come with powerful feelings. Feelings that tend to control how we treat people, how we respond to the tests and trials of life, and whether or not we obey God.
While the feelings themselves are not always sinful, if they’re not dealt with in a biblical way, they can quickly become so.
While emotions are real and often powerful, they’re lousy leaders. When we allow our emotions to control our thoughts, words, and actions, we can end up in a ditch.
Imagine your life or mine like a train. When emotions are pulling the train, it’s just a matter of time before the trail gets derailed. Those intense feelings lead to irrational or angry or depressed thoughts. The train is picking up speed. Before we know what hit us, we’ve said something we regret. And, if that emotional engine keeps going, we’ll do things that either hurt our loved ones or sabotage lives. Train-wreck.
As believers, instead of being led by our feelings, we need to be led by the principles of God. That often requires going against our feelings. It also means letting our emotions ride in the caboose.
Emotions are part of the inner man, what the Bible terms “the heart.” The heart is made up of the mind (including our conscience), the will, and the emotions.
When we’re injured or experience sickness in the outer man, the body, it affects the whole body. Think about the last time you had a toothache or stubbed your toe. All your attention was focused on the injured part.
When part of the inner man, often our thoughts, are not in line with God’s principles and promises, it will affect the other parts. That’s why it’s so important to renew our thinking with God’s truth.
When we decide to live by the principles of God and believe His promises, learn to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10.3-5), and choose to see our circumstances through the grid of Scripture (Rom. 8.28-29; 1 Cor. 10.13), our words and actions will begin to change (Matt. 12.35). Then just as the caboose goes where the engine leads, our feelings will go where our thoughts go. Right thinking, ultimately, leads to right feelings.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll take that list of negative emotions one by one and look at the principles that apply to each one.
Next week we’ll start with one most of us have dealt with at one time or another … anger.
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