Submitting Our Emotions To God
We were all perfectly designed as emotional creatures. Even Jesus in His perfection experienced suffering. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3) Living here on earth enabled Him to personally commune with His people by embracing human emotions — yet He did not sin. We serve a relational God who reaches out and shares in our grief because He Himself faced it. Yet, using our emotions to guide our responses to circumstances can complicate matters and even lead to lifelong regrets. We have to stop handing our emotions power only God should wield over us.
Christian missionary, Amy Carmichael, put it beautifully,
”If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
Knowing Calvary love means putting God’s truth before our own.
Not everything merits a response.
Taking offense towards the smallest things can be a reflex response. You hear negative criticism towards your character and you immediately want to defend yourself. You see a 280-character tweet from a stranger you disagree with and jump on social media to give them a piece of your mind. If we simply spent time in prayer before exchanging shouts with the world, we won’t be easily led by our emotions — anger, sadness, fear, envy — no matter how “justified” they are at the moment. When we set our thoughts on to praiseworthy things (Philippians 4:8) then we have an opportunity to filter out our thoughts and focus on God’s unchanging truth about us.
What are you feeding your emotions with?
What are you doing with your pain? The simple act of listening to sad music, binge-watching shows, or rereading old messages can intensify one’s emotions and force you to dwell on things that don’t contribute to healing. Who are you pouring your pain to? Different perspectives of people can corrupt your way of thinking. Depending on the company, they can add fuel to the fire and keep affirming your pain instead of resolving it and giving way to grace. This is why genuine accountability matters.
Do you need to know everything?
There is insecurity rooted in information. Have you ever wanted anybody to divulge details to feed your curiosity? Do you find yourself going that extra mile — lurking through social media platforms, opening e-mails or text messages — just to “silence” your inner demons? You succeeded, but I bet you regretted it.
Like Eve and her pursuit for knowledge in the Garden of Eden — way beyond what she was capable of handling — we must learn how to be satisfied with what God wisely chooses to reveal to us. What are you demanding to be shown? Stop asking for answers you aren’t ready to receive. But when He does give it, and it can hurt, He will equip us with grace to deal with it.
Lead your heart before it leads you.
Following your heart, as the age-old saying goes, can often lead to mistakes. Conform your emotions to Scripture in pursuit of Christlikeness. When we bury our insecurities and don’t place them on the feet of Jesus Christ, we deceive ourselves and God. Delight, rejoice, and exalt in the Lord! You have power vested in you by the Creator — who fashioned you with unwavering security — to change your perspective and ultimately, your response to fickle emotions.