Emotions are like hineys (or shall I say taxes)—everyone’s got them. Since we’re made in the image of God and He has emotions, we have emotions. Good, bad, or ugly, emotions are here to stay.
Unfortunately, they often get the best of us. A calculator might be able to count the number of times I’ve made an emotional decision and lived to regret it. Don’t you just hate that?
Thank God, we are each a work in progress. As single works of progress claiming to be followers of Jesus, we need to learn how to manage our emotions instead of letting them manage us. The Lord has given us some superior tools by which to grow in this challenging arena of human existence.
Inside, we have the love of God (Jer. 32:38-40) to motivate and empower us. We also have the Spirit of God, who promised to guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
Outside, we have the Word of God to correct and train us (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and the people of God to speak life, truth, and encouragement to us (Heb. 10:24-25). What could possibly go wrong?
Who All Is In the Way?
You’re already laughing because your answer is like mine: Me.
I’m what’s wrong. I get in my own way when it comes to growing and maturing in how I handle my emotions. However, I’m not the only one who gets in my way.
There are highly intelligent, organized, malicious spirit beings—demons—who work on getting in the way of our spiritual growth and effectiveness (Eph. 6:12). We have been duly warned in God’s Word about how sneaky and destructive they are (John 10:10; 2 Cor. 2:11 & 11:14). I’m definitely not the kind of believer who thinks there’s a demon behind every bush, but we can’t ignore them, either.
Jesus spoke of demons (Matt. 17:21) and spoke to demons (Luke 8:26-33). They’re not just the idea or embodiment of evil or, according to psychologists like Carl Jung, a cultural archetype distilled down from our collective unconscious. Demons are real. Anyone who’s done missions overseas, like I have, will attest to their existence and power.
Looking over my own life, the lives of others, and around the Internet, it seems like there are some choice tools the enemy uses to keep us single Christians from handling our emotions in a godly manner. If we’re going to reach the destiny He has for us and be shaped to handle the blessings and responsibilities that He’s preparing us for, it is crucial that we learn to manage our emotions appropriately.
This week, let’s review the place emotions have in our lives.
Next week, we’ll review how the enemy uses our emotions against us so we can put a stop to most of it.
Why Do We Have Emotions?
God gave us emotions, not only because He wanted to create us in His image, but because they add depth and meaning to our human experience and our relationships.
We could not appreciate God’s creation or certain aspects of God’s character without emotions. The awe inspired by watching a sunset, climbing a mountain peak, or cradling a newborn baby, is an emotion.
We would not be able to relate to Him, or have Him work within us, without emotions. He uses, but is not totally dependent upon, our emotions to elicit obedience through our emotional bond with Him.
Or how could we worship God without emotions? It would be rather boring, stale, dutiful, and mechanical. (Actually, sadly, many churches and believers operate this way.)
How would we interact as humans without emotions? Like animals? Even they show some emotion. And how would the human race have even gotten this far without emotions to attract us to each other for romance and sex?
To ensure that His highest creations could emote like He did, He built emotions into our physiology. He created us with neurotransmitters that serve, essentially, as cables that move chemical nerve impulses across gaps, called synapses, between nerve endings to other nerves, muscles, or glands. These chemical nerve impulses dictate when, how often, and how strongly we experience certain emotions. Some of the most commonly discussed in popular culture include dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, noradrenaline, and vasopressin.
Our range and depth of emotions, designed to deepen our human experience and ability to communicate, are markers that distinguish us from animals.
We were directed to manage our emotions appropriately. They were not supposed to control us. And emotions don’t replace faith. We are to live by faith and obedience, not by emotions. Even in perfect Eden, Adam and Eve were to have trusted God by faith.
This gets into our talk for next week on how the enemy uses our emotions against us. Please come back next week so we can really get into this!