Do You Trust Your Emotions?
Emotions are powerful. They are the connection which brings your mind, spirit, and body together. They can help you connect with someone and hold onto the precious memories you make with them. Emotions help you treasure the gift of life. Music, movies, and other forms of entertainment have a way of letting you feel many emotions at one time. They know how to reach your heart.
You can have varying emotions at the same time. Think of a wedding. The bride usually feels nervous, wondering if everything is going to work just right. She’s elated to marry her groom. She’s overwhelmed by the love and support of family and friends. She may feel a bit of regret for those she couldn’t invite to the wedding. She might even feel a bit of grief as her whole life is about to change. All of these emotions affect one person on one day.
Emotions are an incredible gift from God. They allow you to connect with Him as well. Scripture, worshipful music, or someone’s prayer will stir emotions of gratitude and awe for God within you. It’s a beautiful feeling.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control”
Who doesn’t love feeling these emotions? All of these remind you of celebratory times: Friends, birthdays, graduations, spiritual growth, overcoming something.
Emotions can also be dangerous. The enemy can use them against you. The apostle Paul left you a very firm warning to be careful!
“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
How do these things count for emotions:
Sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, jealousy, envy, selfish ambitions, drunkenness, and carousing can all be attributed to lust. It’s trying to lift yourself up as a god instead of trusting in the God. It’s saying that you can do whatever you want because it feels good to you at the moment. It’s temporarily satisfying a desire of yours.
Hatreds, strife, and outbursts of anger all come from the root of anger. You’re either getting something you don’t want or not getting what you do want. If you dug even deeper into this, anger could either be coming from fear – you’re afraid that the result is going to threaten you somehow, so anger is your mode of defending yourself. The other place it might be coming from is pride. Someone is threatening your ego and you don’t like it so you react.
Dissensions and factions can also come from a place of pride and bitterness. Someone has wronged you or disagreed with you so you’re going to rise up and create a group of like-minded people to defend you, trying to regain your pride as the leader and prove them wrong; most likely seeking to humiliate them as much as you can. Don’t you see this strongly in society right now?
All of these emotions Paul warns about are extremely dangerous. They make you feel good in the initial stages of preparing to do them and/or acting upon them, but the further along you go, the more you’ll see the disastrous affect they’ll have on you. That is unless you’re too blinded by the sin to see it for yourself. Then, it’ll only be others who see it in you. As a result, you’ll continue to spiral deeper into the sin, inviting those also struggling with it to follow you as well.
I need to acknowledge that all of these dangerous emotions are sin. As Christians, we are to realize where all of this is coming from and take our thoughts captive.
“For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
It all begins in your mind with thoughts. When you let your thoughts grow, emotions get attached to them. Temptations play with your emotions. If you’re not taking your thoughts captive, then your emotions won’t be either and you’ll be led by them into sin.
You can trust your spirit as a Christian, because God Himself is living in you and will direct you in how to act.
“No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
You will be tempted with sin as long as you live on this earth. However, the Lord promises to always provide a way of escape for you. If you’re grounded in God’s word, you’ll hear His leading and will see the way of escape. If you’re taking your thoughts captive, you’ll choose the way of escape and resist the Devil’s enticement.
If you’re allowing yourself to be led by your emotions/ what feels good at the moment, then you’ll fall into sin. The more you let your emotions lead you, the more you’ll start practicing that sin until it controls you.
The world’s main drive right now is enticing you to follow your emotions. That’s why there’s very few commitments people hold to these days, and why so many are confused even to the core of their identities. They do what they feel like when they feel like it. With a sprinkle of gratitude, you’ll feel good about yourself and what you accomplish, leading to pride.
Gratitude isn’t wrong from the right perspective. But look at the world’s source behind it. It’s to glorify yourself and make you feel better. Or, the world tells you to direct it to nature. Be grateful to the “energy” and creation around you. The true sense of gratitude needs to be directed to God alone for His glory, not your own or the world’s
I’ve recently not felt a deep connection with the Lord. I’m spending time each day in His word, listening to worship music, and praying, but nothing seems to be stirring my heart for that profound emotional connection. If I lived with my emotions as the main priority, I’d be tempted to believe that God is angry with me or that I’m not close to Him. Maybe He doesn’t care about me, I’m not trying hard enough, or creating the right “environment.” Perhaps I’m not really saved… See how quickly your emotions can spiral if you let them?
But the reality is, there are more moments in your spiritual life where consistently spending time with the Lord won’t foster grand emotions. It’s just like the daily grind of work, marriage, kids, and other relationships. Emotions tend to most greatly connect in the highs and lows of your life. When you see the Lord doing the miraculous, or confirm His word in a profound way, your beautiful emotions will rejoice. When you’re grieving or working through a season of hard times, you might be overwhelmed with sorrow, doubt, or despair. This is when you need to respond in surrender and patient waiting, crying out to the Lord for help.
Regardless of the time you might be in, your emotions should be the last thing you depend on for direction. If you’re trusting in the Lord for guidance, you’ll also trust His word when it says He is always with you, He’s faithful, He loves you, He watches over you. He will defend you. He’ll mend your broken spirit. He’ll rejoice over you, and so on.
“3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:1-17