Many Christians have learned to walk in victory over sickness and claimed God's promises for financial blessing, but live their daily lives on an emotional roller coaster!
Some are anxious over many things and walk in bitterness from past hurts. For others, controlling jealousy, rage, and anger is an ongoing struggle. Freedom from these negative feelings would be as welcome as deliverance from a terminal illness for many!
In desperation, some believers have sought the counsel of a secular psychiatrist or psychologist. Others have turned to the church and sadly received the same counsel they would have received from a secular psychiatrist or psychologist.
The philosophy of the world is to "cope" with emotions because it is believed you cannot change the person you are. The person who seeks secular counseling is told, "You must learn to accept yourself — the good with the bad. The reason you are the way you are is because of your childhood environment including abusieve treatment from relatives or friends."
Unfortunately, this type of counsel has crept into the church. When the delivering power of God is mentioned, instead of grabbing hold of God's Word and believing the power of His Holy Spirit will set them free, people begin to recall their past abuses. This becomes a convenient excuse not to trust God's power and promises. Although I believe your background can contribute to your emotional makeup, it does not determine it.
Perhaps you have come from a church background where expressing emotion in worship was unacceptable and maybe even forbidden an occasional. Even an "amen" to a point in the sermon was not acceptable.
Deuteronomy 28:45 and 47 says, "Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee... Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.
Apparently, it is as much a matter of choice to serve God with gladness as it is to serve Him in the first place. Therefore, emotions must be subject to our will. In the same way we choose to be saved, we choose to serve God cheerfully.
Created in God's Image
Our inward man, the spirit man, is created in God's image. (Genesis 1:27) The inward man consists of two parts: spirit and soul. These are both eternal. Since we possess both and are created in God's image, God must also have a soul.
Emotions are part of the soul. Therefore, they are eternal. We will possess a sense of humor, experience joy and laughter, and worship God with gladness of heart throughout eternity.
Since we are created in God's image, God must also have emotions. This is certainly true in the Scriptures. He is a God of joy, (Deuteronomy 28:63, 50:9) jealousy, (Exodus 20:5;34:14) laughter, (Psalm 2:4) grief, (Hebrews 3:17) and anger. (Numbers 11:1:12:9)
Not only does man possess emotions, so do angels. (Luke 15:10) Anyone who has been around animals, especially pets, knows animals also have emotions. This attribute of God is found all around us.
What Are Emotions?
First, emotions are the spice of life. They do not add substance to life; they flavor it with excitement and enjoyment. Like spices, emotions do not sustain life; they add flavor to life's experiences.
For example, a football player may dance for joy in the end zone after he makes a touchdown. His joyful expression won't add more points to the scoreboard, but it does add enjoyment to the game.
Emotions are also the appreciators of life. We respond to the national anthem with a tear, our child taking his first step with a shout, and many forms of entertainment with a laugh. We respond emotionally to situations in life, but the substance of life is in the situation, not in the emotional response.
This is where many Christians get off track. The wonderful emotions resulting from experiences with the Holy Spirit become so important to them that they leave the substance of the Word of God to seek the experiences. This is like trying to live on spices without food! You will have flavor, but no nutrition.
Today many Christians leave the teaching of the Word because they think it is boring. Instead, they search for emotional services. Although the Holy Spirit does send times of laughter and spiritual refreshing, it is never for the purpose of taking the place of the Word of God.
Some Christians are also looking for an emotional experience to replace their commitment to God's Word. Instead of searching for the promises of God and applying them to their situations, they are looking for a service that will give them a "quick fix." They think being in emotional services where groaning, crying, or laughing are manifested will solve their problems. If deliverance is not accomplished in one service, they follow the minister from church to church and city to city looking for their answer.
2 Peter 1:4:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The answer has never changed. Just like food is still necessary to sustain natural life and guard us from disease, the Word of God is our spiritual "bread" to sustain spiritual life and give us strength to overcome temptation to sin.
It is daily Bible study and meditation as well as the teaching of Scriptures from the pulpit that enable us to grow up and become more and more like Jesus — including our emotions.
Are We to be Victims of Wicked Emotions?
Although there are emotions God wants us to enjoy, there are also those He wants us to control. Joyfulness of heart and gladness are to be invited into our lives, but jealousy, bitterness, and fear are not a part of the Spirit-filled life.
Are we, like psychologists say today, to “cope” with all negative emotions? Are these “bad” emotions really a part of our unchangeable personality, which we are supposed to accept? Our answer cannot rest with men, but with God and His Word.
Jesus told His disciples, "Let not your heart be troubled," (John 14:1,27) and "Fear not." (Matthew 10:28: Luke 5:10) Thus, fear must involve a choice or Jesus would not have commanded us not to fear.
Furthermore, if fear is a choice, emotions do not have power over us: we have control over them. We not only have a choice to reject the evil emotions, we also have a choice to accept the good ones! We can truly put on "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." (Isaiah 61:3)
The Power of Choice
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communications out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is created him.
If the temptation to lie came to you, would you let it control you? If you had a sudden urge to curse God, would you let it come out of your mouth? The answer to both questions should be no. These are sins, and we would not want to grieve the Holy Spirit by doing either. We have the choice not to sin, and when we choose not to sin, the power of the Holy Spirit will back us up.
Anger, wrath, and malice (bitterness) are included in the same list of sins. Apparently, wrong emotions are as much a sin as lying and blasphemy toward God!
We have the same authority over emotional sins as we have over sins of the tongue and actual deeds. We can choose our emotions. Using the illustration of getting dressed and undressed, Paul tells us what we are to "put off" and "put on."
We are to "put off" anger and wrath like dirty clothing. (See Colossians 3:8) We are to "put on" the knowledge of the Word of God and tender mercies like clean clothing. (See Colossians 3:10-12)
God tells us sins of emotions have no more power over us than an old set of clothes. (See also Ephesians 4:22-52) With the Holy Spirit and the Word of God controlling us, we are impossible to defeat.
Titus tells us a bishop is to be "not soon angry." (Titus 1:7) James tells us we are to be "slow to wrath." (James 1:19) Paul told Timothy believers should lift up holy hands "without wrath and doubting." (1 Timothy 2:8) David tells us to "cease from anger." (Psalm 37:8)
We are in the driver's seat, not our emotions. We are the master and they are our slaves.
Success is a Choice Away
Here are a few points for you to consider:
Now is the time to choose! How long will you be controlled by your flesh? The longer you wait, the more difficult the deliverance. You cannot control your emotions in your own strength, but by the power of God and His Word you can walk free today.
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Copyright 2009 by Bob Yandian Ministries.
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