Emotions and Walking In The Spirit
Be patient with personal emotions
What would the world be like if everyone acted without hesitation on every personal emotion? If it feels good…do it! Think hard. Would you want to live in such a world? Why or why not?
That world would lack self-control, an appropriation of the Fruit of the Spirit. Our mouths would have no filter, so we’d freely blurt out every feeling. Emotions such as annoyance, anger, passion, pride, lust, and disgust would fill the airwaves along with feelings of joy and happiness. Speaking in such a manner would have a ripple effect, causing discomfort to those nearby who would, in turn, express their own feelings.
This freedom to express every feeling would lead to hardened hearts. There would be a lack of empathy, preventing us from caring about how our actions affect others. Basically, it would be a chaotic world full of hate, jealousy, fear, hopelessness, selfishness, and disdain. Any pleasure and joy would be momentary.
Although God wove emotions into our makeup, He did not place them there for self-centered gratifications. Our time on earth is not supposed to be spent on selfish ambitions but for sharing the Good News, serving others, and glorifying God. Sin separates us from our Lord and hinders our personal relationship with Him. Emotions and feelings are a gift but they can become sin if not tempered with self-control.
“Obedience to God is always possible. It is a deadly error to fall into the notion that when feelings are extremely strong we can do nothing but act on them.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Elisabeth Elliot hit the nail on the head when she stated the danger of thinking that man is helpless and unable to ignore extremely strong feelings and unable but act on them. God has equipped us with self-control. There is no temptation that is beyond our ability to withstand with God’s help! (1 Co 10:13) Obedience to the will of God is what we must focus on.
“When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
In the Bible, there are several Scriptures that mention feelings and the wisdom of maintaining self-control. It warns us that a lack of self-control will lead to sin and awaken the lusts of our flesh. Proverbs 29:11 even calls the man who vents all his feelings a fool!
“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
“A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
Self control is the key
As sojourners in this world, we must work to maintain self-control over our feelings. This is a perfect way to practice lifestyle witnessing to unbelievers. They will observe our calm demeanor during financial shortcomings, our compassion for those who mistreat us, and our serenity during trials. They will come to us saying, it is not good to hold your feelings inside and encourage us to let them out. But this is a deceptive worldly philosophy corrupt and established by evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8 (NIV)
Our emotions are rooted in our heart and Scripture tells us that our hearts are deceitful. Emotions should be examined and aligned with God’s truth. Even Jesus wept when He spoke to the sisters of Lazarus, who was dead 4 days upon His arrival. Mourning is to be expected when a loved one passes. But even mourning can lead to sin if we do not keep our focus on eternity and the promises of God.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NKJV)
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 (NIV)
We have been called to walk in the Spirit. What does this mean? What does the fruit of the Spirit produce in us? What should we do with our passions and desires? The answers are all in the Bible. We just need to take the time to search them out.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5: 22-24