Emotions were included in the equipment that God gave us to express ourselves. We were not made to be robots that can function, yet have no feelings. Emotions give color to our lives, and that is a good thing. We all know that stoic person that is hard to deal with because you never know how your interaction will affect them – if at all.We know even God expresses emotions from verses such as the ones below:
And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. Genesis 6:6
The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Jesus expressed different emotions in the event described below:
And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. Mark 3:1-6
It amazes me that Jesus healed the man despite the negative emotions that He experienced — an example that we would do well to follow. It may be a stretch for most of us, but, to be honest, we have no choice. Imagine the tragedy of letting the man go home with is ailment simply because He was dealing with negative feelings! That would rate his feelings a higher priority than the need of that poor man.
One of the lessons that we can draw from this passage is that we should never allow emotions to control our behavior, for that would be selfishness of the highest order. We don’t do things because we feel good, or refuse to do something because we don’t feel like it: your purpose is more important than your feelings.
There is little to complain about positive emotions, but it is a different story when it comes to the negative ones. It is fun to be around a person with a positive demeanor, but not so much the others. The Bible even warns us against it:
Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul. Proverbs 22:24,25
Because emotions are so unstable, confusion will rule your life when you allow them into your decision making process. Feelings change from morning to evening, and to base decisions on how you feel, is similar to playing a game of Russian roulette, making the odds of good choices very slim.
It is hard to build a stable relationship with a person who is ruled by emotions because of the fluidity of their character. You never know what emotion they might experience at any given time, and that causes uncertainty, which in turn inhibits attachment. It is much easier to align yourself to a person of a stable disposition.
Looking at the threefold being of man, namely spirit, soul and body, it is clear that feelings are situated in the flesh, as emotion is felt in your body. While expressing emotions is natural, giving it a prominent place in your behavior can be harmful to your health. As a matter of fact, both the suppression of emotions, and giving it free reign are unhealthy extremes that will ultimately lead to symptoms that require medical attention. Ulcers and headaches come to mind as common conditions in people who struggle with managing their feelings well.
Emotions have a very powerful potential to destroy relationships, marriages, lives, careers, businesses, etc., and for that reason it is of the ultimate importance to keep them under control. Paul’s words, “Be angry, and do not sin,” (Ephesians 4:26) are a good example of how to control an emotion. Bear in mind that it is not the emotion that is sin, but how and to what degree it is expressed. Always think about how it will be received before you allow it to run freely.
We live in an imperfect world among imperfect people where things go wrong all the time. As time marches on, it will only get worse. The destructive impact that the lock-downs are having on the mental health of people, can already be seen everywhere. Add to that the economic hardship and the uncertainty about the future, and another dark layer is added to already stressful circumstances. Emotions will undoubtedly be triggered in many within our circles of acquaintances and family. While this is to be widely expected, it is all the more important for us Christians to be aware of it, and to manage our behavior well. Those around us who struggle need wholesome people around them in troubling times.
Jesus spoke words of comfort for times like these:
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Hard times spawn some raw emotions as we are drawn to focus on the impact that it will have on us. That is natural, but we are spiritual people, so we look at it with different eyes. Our eyes are fixed on the inside where the Prince of Peace rules; He gave us His peace that cannot be taken away by anyone or anything — and it would be foolish to let go of it for any reason.
King David knew this secret too:
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1-3
He missed the times when he happily joined the multitude; “I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.” He had all the reason to be sad, but then he thought about it, and changed his attitude:
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. Psalm 42:5
We simply cannot allow circumstances to dictate our moods; the consequences would be too disastrous. Because words have power, it would be wise to calm emotions down before responding to an unpleasant situation.
The heart of the righteous studies how to answer… Proverbs 15:28
Emotional Intelligence is a social skill that can help you become more aware and tactful in understanding handling your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Benefits of emotional intelligence include, but are not limited to, improvements in coping, well-being, relationship satisfaction, and resilience. (Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC)
The secular world has its ways of dealing with out of control emotions, but as new creation beings (2 Corinthians 5:17) we turn our attention to the Scriptures. Jesus said the truth makes us free, (John 8:31,32) so we always look for the truth concerning the matter that we are dealing with. The Bible has much to say about these things. As twice born people, the Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside out, maturing us to produce fruit that bears witness of our new life in Christ.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23
The verses above explain it well. It is interesting to note that the list begins with love, and ends with self-control — two bookends that hold it all together. The fruit of the Spirit is the hallmark of a mature character.
You cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit unless you have crucified the flesh!
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
A happy person is a whole person, beginning with a crucified self and a heart where the Prince of Peace is enthroned. A relationship with Him is a source of joy that the world cannot take away, no matter what happens. James gets right to the point in the verse below, showing us how to keep emotions under control while things are tough to handle:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2
Begin to transform yourself by managing your emotions; every successful life is a well-managed life!
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