Emotions Are Not About Me
They point to what's going inside our head. Pretty smart of God if you ask me. They are a result of our thoughts which makes what God says about "taking your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ" a big deal. Our thoughts effect much more than the inside of our skull.
I can think of two tendencies in dealing with emotions based in thinking it's "all about me". We can either act as though emotions are the authority or we can go to the other extreme of totally cutting them off. Neither of these options honor God.
Our emotions, given, gifted, created by God to be part of human existence, let us experience God's character. We feel anger toward the evil of girls being sold as sex slaves. We feel affection toward good friends, anticipation, excitement and so on because we were made in His image. He feels. God feels. Jesus, "the fullness of deity in bodily form" wept. He wept. Shortest verse in the Bible, yet perhaps the most powerful. The God of the universe, broke into time and wept. He agonized in the garden. He delighted in the children. He was angry with the Pharisees. He longed for the disciples to have faith.
But since we are but flesh, we don't always have right feelings because we don't always have right perceptions. If we saw things rightly, in light of what's true, in light of the big eternal picture then our emotions would be a bit more reliable than they are.
So what do we do with our emotions? How can we keep them in their proper place of not discarding them as though God didn't value them, but also not using them to make decision or idolizing them?
Examine them, test them to see if they are based on truth. Or in other words, ask, "What does this emotion show me I am believing, and ultimately believing about God?"
"Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Gen. 4:6-7
God challenged Cain to examine his emotions, not just be driven by them. "Why are you angry?" (He asks the same thing of Jonah in regards to the plant He had provided him after it died). Then God tells him how to get his emotions in line with reality "do what is right" (which comes from a thought) and the feelings will follow.
When what we think is true, the emotions that result are a powerful display of God's heart. Our feelings are not about us, they are pointing to the One who made them, feels them and can heal them.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and. Psalm 42:5
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has six kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries since 2002 serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Staff Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 women, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks many times a year. Laura is an author and creator of ministry tools and resources. You can find her books and resources at the Missional Women store and connect with her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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11/13/2013 10:05:57 am
Laura, I loved this post! Yes, if our hearts are corrupt, then all that flows from it (our thoughts, actions, and emotions) will also be corrupt. The root issue is our heart! I love how Paul Tripp talks about it. He says our emotions are often influencers in our lives, but they shouldn't be "determiners" - we can't be driven by them as you say!
11/13/2013 10:11:42 am
What a beautiful post! Emotions are so challenging for us to do with sometimes. I struggle with other people's emotions sometimes more than my own - but then again this is an emotion. Great insights!
11/14/2013 02:06:41 am
Hi, Laura! Being that I have always been a very emotional person - tears come to me easily - it used to make me very uncomfortable, that I was so emotional, until one time a friend said that tears are a sign that the Holy Spirit working in my heart. Emotions can be good, as long as we do examine Who and where they are coming from. Blessings, friend!
2/19/2015 11:58:57 pm
You have succinctly and graciously put into words here something God has been impressing on me for a long time. Thank you!
11/20/2018 04:42:40 pm
Thank you. These are the only words I can say.
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