Dwight Fletcher | Beware the voices in your head
Life can be an emotional roller coaster. Different circumstances or experiences can leave us feeling joy, fear, anger, disgust, or sadness. But how well do we recognise and acknowledge our emotions, and how do our emotions contribute to the quality of our life?
When that voice inside our head shouts with glee, how do we respond on the outside? Or when we hear in our minds, 'serves him/her right!', do we recognise anger?
You and I were designed to fully experience emotions, which God gave us as a gift. The Bible shows that Jesus was at one time or another happy, sad, or angry. But, our emotions should never be the only thing directing what we do.
Unfortunately, our world tells us that all that matters is 'how I feel'. Nike's most popular ad campaign used the slogan, 'If it feels good, just do it.' But our emotions can get us into trouble, so we need to control them. Here are four reasons they need to be managed:
Your feelings can be unreliable.
What Jamaicans call 'me spirit nuk tek' can be an unreliable way to assess a person. If you are unable to point to something definitive about someone to match how you are feeling, be careful of your actions towards them. Proverbs 14:12 (NIV) says this:"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." Just because you feel it, doesn't make it true.
Your feelings can be
Proverbs 25:28 (NAB) states: "Like an open city with no defences is the man with no check on his feelings." Your emotions can be manipulated by:
• Other people: After spanking, many Jamaican parents are known to tell their children to not cry despite what they may be feeling. Even advertisers are trained to stir up your emotions to make you feel that you actually need something that you probably don't.
• Your sinful nature: It's natural for you to think that you deserve whatever you feel for or desire.
That sinful nature in you, can use your best feelings against you and against the Word of God.
• Satan: Satan will use negative emotions like fear, bitterness, shame, or discouragement to get you off track from the will of God. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) says:
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
The other reason to control your emotion is because:
You want to please God
God cannot be God in your life if your emotions are god in your life. "To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace... Those who obey their human nature cannot please God." Romans 8:6 & 8 (GNT).
Then, you should also manage your emotions well if:
You want to succeed in life
One day Jesus had been rejected by a town and James and John said, "'... Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?' But Jesus turned and rebuked them." Luke 9:54-55 (NIV). Jesus did not allow the opinions of others to affect what He thought about Himself. People who don't have high IQs are still very successful in life because they are smart in dealing with their emotions. On the other hand, we've all known people who live by their emotions and waste their life. If they don't feel like doing anything, they don't do it.
When you give your heart to Jesus, that includes your emotions because your heart is the seat of your emotions. Jesus wants to be Lord of how you feel, not just what you think and what you do.
If you haven't yet given your heart and emotions to Jesus, now is a good time. All you need to do is believe that Jesus is who He said He is: the Son of God who came to Earth and offered Himself as our sacrifice. And recognise that you needed that sacrifice because you've messed up in your life and you want to turn it around. So you give Jesus permission to take control and lead you as Master and Lord. Then you simply allow your old self to be buried in the waters of Christian baptism and rise up a new creature.
In fact, the Bible says to believers: "From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God's will and not by human desires." 1 Peter 4:2 (GNT).
Join me again next week when we look at some strategies for successfully managing your emotions with God's help.