Emotions; September 4, 2017


Ezra 3:13 No-one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

Intense emotions of various sorts can indeed become jumbled both to an outside observer and to the person himself. Emotion can and does cloud thinking and reasoning. It can at times be very inconvenient. However, it is indeed the “spice of life;” without it, existence is grey indeed. One of the more pathetic things I have seen is people who are over-medicated for bipolar disorder. Their emotions of all sorts are flattened, and they just exist. That’s no way to live! I personally think emotions are one of the ways in which we were created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27) Some people protest that is anthropomorphizing God, but the Bible speaks many times of God’s emotions in various ways. How that would be is a mystery, since He certainly doesn’t have our human endocrine system secreting hormones of all sorts. However, Josephus reported that Jesus was known for mood swings, going from laughing to crying and the like. Some people would insist that was because He was mentally unbalanced, claiming to be the Son of God, but I think it was because He was having to deal with His Father’s emotions in the confines of a human body. In any case, emotions are part of what it means to be human, and we aren’t to run from them. At the same time, we aren’t to be controlled by them. We are to accept emotions of all sorts as gifts from God, and seek Him for how we are to be stewards of those emotions. That includes negative emotions, because if we never knew sorrow, for example, we couldn’t appreciate joy. That’s one reason the devil attacks us in the area of emotions: the more pure and holy something is, the more he wants to steal, kill, and destroy it.

I certainly have my share of emotions. However, in general I am more the cerebral, dispassionate type. I say that, but honest self-examination says that is probably an illusion. I do have a gift for objective thinking, but that can lead to a kind of pride that is very dangerous. “Objectivity” can be simply another word for lack of empathy. If I am indeed to love my neighbor as myself, (Matthew 12:31) that means getting emotionally involved. At the same time, emotions can shake us around like a terrier with a rat. As I mentioned, Jesus seems to have had to deal with that. I am to submit my emotions, along with everything else, to God, because He has a good purpose for every detail of how He created me, and I am to rest in that assurance.

Father, yesterday was a good example, with a wide variety of emotions. Thank You. Help me indeed apply the emotions You allow me to have in the way You intend them, so that in every way I may be and do what You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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