- Category: Emotional Wholeness
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Emotions-Rulers of the Soul?
We are called to be emotionally healthy. Jesus, through the Gospel, calls us to a new life, He gives a new identity, and He Himself becomes the source of our new emotional health; it is the redemptive truths of the Gospel that empower us for healthy living. If the truths of the Gospel do not inform our mind, then we are left to our own thinking which leads only to more problems.
People have genuine emotional sickness due to trauma, hormonal imbalances, and other physical causes. But by far, the greatest reason for emotional dysfunction is not organic, but not knowing how to put on our new identity and begin to think in new ways that produce healthy and godly living. It is my opinion that in the absence of organic disease, the Gospel alone provides the truths necessary for wholesome and fruitful living.
The Emotional Impact of Pleasure
We have intellect, will, and emotions but within our personality the emotions hold enormous power for they alone have the capacity to feel pleasure! We are designed to love pleasure, so it is natural that our emotions have a powerful voice. But we cannot give our emotions the last word; Christ, and His Word, set the new standards and the limitations for the kinds of pleasure we will seek. Emotions will always be powerful within our thinking, but within the boardroom of our soul, we give Christ alone, through His Word, the position of Chairman.
It is normal and good to love pleasure and to love fulfilment. Our emotions, if not under the Word of God, will have us loving pleasure just because it is pleasure. However, the Scriptures clearly tell us to love God first, not our pleasures. We can be raised in a Christian home and have superior biblical knowledge but if we're going to be healthy, our fulfilment must come from the pleasures of loving Christ deeply. If we find ourselves not emotionally impacted by the Person of Christ, and not emotionally impacted by the doctrines of the Gospel, then we will never be happy for we cannot be spiritually or emotionally whole apart from a real and ongoing emotional relationship with Jesus Christ. If we have fallen into the personal fulfilment trap (finding fulfilment apart from Christ) then we are off center, and ultimately led by the spirit of this Age rather than led by the Word of God.
It is human nature to give ourselves what we enjoy. But it never works. The only thing that fulfills is giving ourselves to Christ and then loving Him deeply. When God Himself is our highest love, then He will be our highest pleasure, and the source of our greatest joy.
If we are fulfilled neither by Christ, nor by the doctrines of the Gospel, it is because we do not love them deeply and consequently we find no pleasure in following Christ. If the Lord occupies that special place of our highest love then He will fill us with His joy.
Christ satisfies only if He occupies that special place in our heart. No other thing or person can dwell there, it is reserved for Christ alone. We cannot have meaningful fellowship with Jesus Christ if we find our greatest pleasure in things, or accomplishments, or people; He is God and will accept only the highest place. As we set our heart to love the Lord above all else, the Holy Spirit will do the work within us for loving God is a work of grace. He (the Holy Spirit) will put the love of God, and love for God, within our heart. But we have to be willing to turn from loving things to loving God above things.
Jesus, and His work for us, is our only sure source of spiritual and emotional fulfillment. We need to be honest about our pursuits and what they are doing to us; the world promises fulfillment but it cannot deliver. There is no lasting fulfillment apart from a deep and passionate love for God.
Hopeless pursuits produce hopelessness: money, self-image, people, popularity, pleasures, entertainments, importance, power, etc.. But nothing apart from loving Christ deeply can bring one to lasting emotional wholeness; no thing, no accomplishment, no person, no experience, and no pleasure, can meet our deepest emotional and spiritual needs. We are created to love and enjoy God and only when we love and enjoy Him above all else can we find that place of peace that passes understanding.
Our emotions are a gift of our Creation that we might have the inward ability to not only love the Lord, but that He might be our highest pleasure.
The Problem With Emotions
The problem with emotions is they have the power to be independent of our conscious thinking; if we are not spiritually aware, they can silently rule our choices and our behavior. If we look to people or things for pleasure, then we have unwittingly taken our emotions from Christ and given them to other things. If we have not made a conscious decision to love and obey God first, then by default, we are left to bad thinking and fleshly emotions. The result is an empty life, ever looking, but always in the wrong places.
We have been given all spiritual blessings in Christ. Heaven gives its best, and if we cannot find fulfillment in God's best, then we need to consider what it is we really want. If we have found only emptiness, then we need to admit we are looking to that which produces emptiness. Christ is our Maker and the only One who can satisfy. We need to turn our eyes, heart, and emotions to Christ. If our emotions and imaginations were honest they would tell us to find meaning and fulfillment, not in this world, but in the redemptive victories of Christ.
Emotions are extremely deceptive for they masquerade as reality. They (emotions) put their spin on life, and if we listen they will lead us away from God. The healthy person has allowed the Word of God to renew their mind, which will then bring their emotions under the truths of the Gospel. If we never learn to renew our mind with biblical truth, then we lose the ability to resist deceptive emotions. Emotions have the power to bind us, they can knot their ropes so tightly around our life that we find ourselves unable to relate to God or man.
To be emotionally and spiritually healthy our emotions have to be under the control of a renewed mind. Dysfunctional emotions tend to be like delinquent children (they lie, they cheat, and they demand their own way) but the Word of God is more powerful, and if we renew our mind, our unruly emotions will become obedient to our new thoughts.
To be healthy we have to be in control of what we think and what we feel. Emotions, Page 2
How To Control Emotions
We will be able to control our emotions if we "walk in the Spirit." The Gospel alone provides the power, through the new birth, to confront our thoughts and feelings.
The New Birth Gives:
- a sound mind
- a new identity
- a new purpose
- power over every sin
- power over our human nature
- power over the Devil
- spiritual understanding
- a real Friend
- real love
- real relationship
- real acceptance
- real forgiveness
- the hope of glory
- the promise of heaven
What we really need. Solomon, who was the richest, wisest and most accomplished person in the entire world said, every human achievement in this world, will not, and cannot, satisfy. He said, "vanity of vanities, all is vanity".
Ecc 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Proverbs tells us that the person who loves money cannot be satisfied with any amount of money. The eye cannot see enough and the ear cannot hear enough to achieve satisfaction. We are further told that a backslider is filled with his own ways, but a good man is satisfied "from himself", meaning satisfied from above.
Pro 14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
What the above scripture says is that satisfaction comes only from above.
The Gospel is God's answer for every single problem we have, for the Gospel translates us from the power of Darkness into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Col 1:10-14 (10) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (11) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness; (12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
The Gospel alone is able to give emotional wholeness for it meets every human need.
Where Jesus Rules He Brings Peace
We must be honest about our emotional condition. If we are filled with discouragement, fear, and worry, then we need to biblically explore the reasons. God, through Christ, gives His best but often that seems to not be enough. There can be many problems, and they can be with us for a lifetime. How can we possibly live within the reality of serious problems (inherent in this World) and find real and lasting peace. The answer is that real peace is by the power of the Holy Spirit. He, not things, and not our circumstances, is our peace. The Spirit of Christ lives in every Christian and He (the Holy Spirit) will sustain and empower in every circumstance. If our peace is stolen, then that stolen peace demonstrates our dependence on a person, or a thing, or a circumstance, rather than on Christ. If we are emotionally dependent on Christ alone then we will have the power (through the Holy Spirit) to maintain emotional wholeness even when not humanly possible.
We have to be balanced. We are to love others and we are to love Christ. However, it is by loving Christ first, that we can then love others in a way that will not destroy us. He is the Lord and we reserve our highest love for Him. We cannot allow any person to remove Christ from our highest love. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is like no other; He is our Creator, our God, and He is our Savior. Our dependence on Him brings Him honor; our dependence proves He is our highest love.
Mat 22:37-38 (37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment.
- we cannot love success above Christ
- we cannot love health above Christ
- we cannot love a family member above Christ
- we cannot love personal appearance above Christ
- we cannot love self-esteem above Christ
- we cannot love the opinions of others above Christ
- we cannot love physical pleasure above Christ
- we cannot love financial stability above Christ
- we cannot love personal safety above Christ
- we cannot love personal fulfillment above Christ
- we cannot love personal ambitions above Christ
- we cannot love personal dreams above Christ
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Thinking That Empowers Dysfunctional Emotions
Chronic Anger - a chronic dissatisfaction with life and how it has treated you.
Bitterness - bitterness becomes a cancer in the soul and affects our ability to form wholesome relationships.
Unforgiveness - We have to let the past go. We cannot not give the past (people and circumstances) control over our present.
Hatred - Hatred is more common than one would think. Also, hatred does not have to have strong feelings to be real hatred. Hatred can be as innocent as simply desiring to avoid the presence of a particular person. We cannot be emotionally healthy and hate another at the same time. Hatred is corrosive, it is destructive, and produces emotional dysfunction and ultimately physical problems.
Self-Centeredness - A curious thing happens when we become preoccupied with the problems and pressures of our lives. We lose our objectivity, we lose perspective, we lose our peace, and we become very unhappy individuals. Self-centeredness is one of the more important precursors to emotional dysfunction.
Materialism - Beware of the connection between the love of money and emotional dysfunction. The love of money leaves one unable to be truly contented with their life. If one's life is motivated by a love of money or love of things money can buy, then that person's life will be characterized by a shallowness that leads to chronic dissatisfaction and inner turmoil. Listen to the Scripture.
1Tim 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Patience - to be emotionally healthy we need patience. We need the ability to stay the course without falling apart. The Scripture tells us to look to Jesus for He endured the cross by looking to the joy that awaited Him. This is a good lesson for us, we need to keep our head, keep our heart, and keep our faith, in the midst of pressures and difficulties. The truth is, there is a better day ahead.
Heb12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Moses Endured Present Pain To Gain Future Joy
Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
All Christians Are told To Want Things That Are Above.
COL 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
COL 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Do Not Love The World
1John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 7 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
- We are to value the things of God as bringing the highest pleasure, and then passionately run after them. The Scripture specifically tells us to not love this world, but to love the Lord which will result in the highest pleasure of all. We are told to not love this world which means to not place the highest value on the things of this world or the pleasures it can bring. This world promises fulfillment, but that promise is a lie. Real fulfillment comes through loving God deeply and the emotional dependence that results from that love. He is our only source of stability. He has given us His best and the Gospel is the sure foundation of our emotional and spiritual life. Our highest pleasure and the priority of our heart, is reserved for God and the promises of His Word. This world, and it's lusts (things we want that bring pleasure) are all coming to an end, but the person who finds their highest pleasure in the Person of Jesus Christ and His redemptive victories, will gain emotional and spiritual health! God has given us His best!
Eph 1:2-8(2) Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:,
(4)According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
(5)Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
(6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
(7)In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
(8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
If Any Man Come After Me...
Jesus said there is a part of us that must be denied; our human nature is not willing to find pleasure in the Lord and His ways; this part of us must be put to death. Jesus tells us that by allowing His Word and Spirit to renew our mind, then we will be able to deny that part of us that seeks the wrong kind of pleasure. If His Word rules within, we will find pleasure and emotional comfort in following Jesus.
Jesus asks a penetrating question.
What is the value of all possible pleasures, even if you gain them, and then lose your soul? And, can you redeem your soul with the pleasures you gained during your life?
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Our goal is to have emotions that proceed from a renewed heart; emotions that find pleasure in the things of God, emotions that will support and not oppose, our pursuit of God.
God bless you.