Our Emotional Response System —Anger part seven

Our Emotional Response System —Anger                                         part seven

Understand this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God wishes and desires. James 1:19,20 Amplified.

Anger is a universal problem. It is not limited to one age group, culture, race, economic  level, social  status, educational  background, or any other  classification.

What is Anger?

Anger is a reaction of tension and hostility aroused by the frustration of a desire or of other goal directed behavior. Ordinarily situations that arouse anger may generally pass over quickly; but if they do not, anger becomes a set behavioral pattern and attitude.

If this persists for a long period of time, then anger affects the whole of the person’s life; emotionally, psychologically, physically and relationally. Unresolved anger will create secondary negative emotions. Guilt, fear and depression become the major secondary negative emotions.

Feeling fear and sadness is quite uncomfortable for most people; it makes you feel vulnerable and oftentimes not in control.  Because of this, people tend to avoid these feelings in any way they can.  One way to do this is by subconsciously shifting into anger mode.

In contrast to fear and sadness, anger can provide a surge of energy and make you feel more in charge, rather than feeling vulnerable or helpless.  Essentially, anger can be a means of creating a sense of control and power in the face of vulnerability and uncertainty.

Let’s look at a few examples.  When anger arises between couples sometimes there’s a fear of abandonment underneath.  In these instances, it’s a combination of fear and anticipatory loss that can fuel the anger.

Uncertainty – when you lack ample information and things feel indefinite   – can also trigger anger.  Why?  Because uncertainty touches upon the “unknown,” which tends to be scary for most people.  Even boredom can generate anger or irritation because there can be a subtle sense of loss or fear associated with the experience of not engaging in something stimulating or productive.

While having some “sense of control” is correlated with greater emotional wellbeing, excessive desire for control only leads to suffering, as it’s impossible to always be in control, especially of other people’s behavior.

Identify the  Root Cause of Anger

Anger is a serious problem. What causes it? The root cause of the emotion of anger is tension from past hurts and guilt. This mixture of pain and guilt is cumulative, and it erupts in anger when  new offenses  remind us of past  experiences.

Most people assume that hurtful events in the past will  be forgotten  and will  have no effect on the future. That is not true. Past hurts do not just go away, nor does guilt simply disappear after a wrong response to a situation. Unless these experiences are resolved through taking accountability, confessing one’s sin, repenting and receiving forgiveness , we will continue to experience  bouts of anger  when  our tension  points are triggered.

ANGER Vs. DEPRESSION: TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

Depression is often anger turned inward, and anger is often depression turned outward. … Yet inside many depressed people is a very real anger that they don’t feel empowered enough to express. And inside many angry people is a sadness and depression that they’re afraid to experience.

Would you rather be around someone who’s depressed, or someone who’s angry?

Anyone who’s ever had to live or work with someone who’s anger v. depression chronically depressed or angry knows that it’s no fun. If you suffer from either malady yourself, you’re probably not too thrilled with it either.

We tend to think of depression and anger as two completely different conditions. Yet they’re often flip sides of the same coin.

Depression is often anger turned inward, and anger is often depression turned outward.  (I’m talking about the everyday kind, not the severe clinical kind.)

Depression often presents itself as sad, weary, lethargic behavior. Depressed people often feel like they’re just going through the motions of life without any energy or joy. Anger, on the other hand, seems full of seething, venomous, explosive energy that erupts at the slightest annoying act.

Proverbs 29:11– Fools give full vent to their anger, but the wise bring calm in the end.

Yet inside many depressed people is a very real anger that they don’t feel empowered enough to express. And inside many angry people is a sadness and depression that they’re afraid to experience.

I can tell you I’ve experienced both these phenomena myself. I’ve been fearful of expressing anger, yet the energy it took to stifle it sucked the life out of me. I’ve also been so afraid to sit with my own sadness that I lashed out at others.

And therein lies the problem. We’re too afraid to experience our real emotions, so we consciously or unconsciously stuff them, and the act of doing so brings out the equally, or frequently worse, flip side emotion. Anger turns into sadness and sadness turns into anger.

Expectations—and loss of expectation

When  people make promises and fail to keep them,  we tend to hold  that against them and become  resentful of their failure to fulfill  our expectations. When we expect certain behavior or benefits from others-especially those  who are closest to us-and they do not act as we expect, this resentment can also occur.

Proverbs 13:12 says: “Hope deferred makes a heart sick” A literal meaning of the phrase “Hope deferred” is the loss of expectations,” or a lack of fulfillment of expectations, which is similar to a death experience.” When this occurs , then our hearts are sick with grief, caused by this “death experience.” And if this grief, is not recognized or acknowledged or even denied, then depression will result.

The grief is the primary emotion, while the depression is the secondary emotion. We all have expectations. Expectations are what we call “Hope.”

We all have expectations at different stages and roles as we walk through various stages of our lives. We have expectations of our professions, work, friends, pastors and church life. “Expectations” are what we call “hope.” When these expectations are not fulfilled, then a “death of expectation” occurs. If we do not acknowledge that a death has taken place, then we embrace worldly grief.

This sets in motion a syndrome in which grief (sorrow) is characterized by guilt, anger, denial and depression. This grief, which is the primary emotional response to loss or death, is one of major causes of sickness and disease. If this grief remains unresolved, then it will lead to death, for “worldly grief leads to death” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

God heals damaged emotions—–Psalm 34:17–18; Psalm 146:7–9; Psalm 147:3

For you to flourish, you must be emotionally healthy. People get stuck in survival mode & never get free.

Emotional healing is painful. But better to endure a short period of intense honesty, pain, and healing (like a surgery) than a lifetime of emotional or physical sickness (an endless, gnawing pain).

Emotions can be harder to heal than the body. The body doesn’t talk back. Emotional problems do not mean someone is unspiritual.   He or she is wounded and needs healing.

Know who you are in Christ: a child of God who is loved (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).

Forgive others (Matthew 6:12, 14–15). Unforgiveness is emotional cancer—like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Let go of vengeance and put everything in God’s hands (Romans 12:17–21). When you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free.

Then you discover that the prisoner was yourself. Three big points in forgiveness: God, Others, Self.

Repent of sin (Acts 8:22–23).

If a person is demonized and the demon is cast out, it will return if the inner problem (that originally allows the demon to enter) is not dealt with (Luke 11:24–26).

Get rid of the garbage and the flies are easy to get rid of.

Renounce lies and affirm the truth (Matthew 22:29).

Be particularly aware of distorted concepts of God and of ourselves.

Intergenerational problems. Determine that things stop here. Change your family legacy. Expect and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading (John 16:13).

This is not counseling. It is God bringing healing at a person’s deepest level. How do we know if we’re healed?

Initially when we recall a previously painful memory and it has no effect on us. The stinger is removed by our Lord, the pain is gone, only God can do this at the deepest level.

Healing is fully realized when we turn our pain into a ministry to others (2 Cor. 1:3–4).

Studies have shown that humans are almost always feeling at least one emotion. Everything in your life is deeply emotional, even if you aren’t aware of it. Therefore, putting some time and effort into understanding your emotions can be a worthy investment.

It can bring you closer to learning how to fill your life with positive emotions. And this is most definitely a path worth pursuing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Emotional Response System. Part six

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

What happens when we feel an emotion? The latest theory explaining the inner workings of emotions goes like this: Emotions are composite experiences made up of many parts much like a puzzle.

”A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4.

Each part or emotion, like fear or joy, comes together simultaneously in a group of many parts such as body postures, brain chemicals, neurological or electrical signals, sensations, and thought forming a pattern that is recognizable.

Being able to feel emotions is part of what makes us human. In John’s gospel he gives us an account of our Lord Jesus and His emotions. In chapter eleven verse 33, and 38 we are told He groaned. The word in Greek is embrimaoimai meaning to express anger, Mark 14:5; also, to indicate a speaking or acting with deep feeling. In between verse 33-38 inverse 35 -Jesus wept.

Many people struggle to understand their emotions and the things that cause us to feel so deeply. Emotionally, we often experience a huge range of different things in response to any situation. For example,  If you are depressed the result of this is anger turned inward, forming a depressed state. Anger is often depression turned outward. We will be digging into these statements later in this series. The reason many of us struggle to identify our emotions properly is that they are often gone as fast as they appear. We are constantly experiencing new things which means our emotions are rarely static, which complicates being able to identify what is going on with our emotions.

Let’s have a peek at where this term comes from. The term emotions comes from Latin emovere meaning moving, this term is a combination of energy and motion, an expression of how life is constantly in flowing motion.

We may feel emotions from a situation, an experience, or from memories. They assist us to understand the things we are experiencing and to express the way those things make us feel whether they are good or  bad.

Primary and Secondary.

Imagine something has happened, anything, and suddenly you are feeling an emotion. It is strong; it is the first reaction to what has happened. That is a primary emotion. Primary emotions are the body’s first response, and they are usually very easy to identify because they are so strong. The most common primary emotions are fear, happiness, sadness, and anger.

These may also be secondary emotions given different situations, but when we first react, it’s usually with one of the above. If the phone rang and someone started yelling at you for no reason you would probably feel angry or afraid or if the phone rang and someone told you that your dog had died you would feel sad. There does not have to be a huge stimulus to elicit a primary emotion. Primary emotions are adaptive because they make us react a certain way without being contaminated or examined. They are very much an instinctual, primal, survival response.

Primary Emotions

Primary emotions are more transient than secondary emotions which is why they are less complicated and easier to understand. The first thing we feel is directly connected to the event or stimulus but as time passes, we struggle to connect the same emotion with the event because our emotions have changed.

Secondary Emotions

Secondary emotions are much more complex because they often refer to the feelings you have about the primary emotion. These are learned emotions which we get from our parent(s) or primary care givers as we grow up. For example, when you feel angry you may feel ashamed afterward or when you feel joy, you may feel relief or pride. In Star Wars, Master Yoda explained secondary emotions perfectly – “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

Secondary emotions can also be divided into instrumental emotions. These are unconscious and habitual. We learn instrumental emotions as children as a form of conditioning. When we cry a parent comes to soothe us; so, we learn to use the facial expressions and response associated with crying when we need that soothing or sense of security.

How To Tell The Difference?

Aside from secondary emotions being harder to name, there are several ways to determine whether you are feeling a primary emotion or a secondary one. Firstly, ask yourself if the emotion is directly a reaction or not. If it is a direct connection, then it is a primary emotion. If the emotion came on strongly, but that feeling has begun to fade then it is also likely a primary emotion; if the opposite is true it’s more likely to be a secondary emotional reaction.

If the emotion lingers long after the event has happened or even effects new but similar or connected events, then it is likely to be secondary. If the emotion is complex, it’s almost always secondary. There is such a thing as tertiary emotions, but as elusive as secondary emotions are tertiary emotions are even harder to pin down.

What Use Are Primary are Secondary Emotions?

Primary and secondary emotions tell a person a lot about their emotional stability and integrity. Rather than blindly accepting an emotion, being able to understand where it comes from and the actions that led up to that emotion can act as a path to trace back to prior abuse or traumatic events that have left emotional scars.

Finding the real cause behind a person’s reaction means examining the primary emotion, while the secondary emotion will help to understand how we processes information. Also, by slowing down the thought process and consciously working through the internal reasons why someone feels a certain way, they are likely to understand more about themselves through a process that would have been entirely unconscious until now.

Another reason why identifying emotions is important is to be able to react to them properly. For someone who struggles with handling emotions or reacting appropriately being unable to express themselves can be frustrating. This, in turn, leads to anger and even rage.

Conclusion: Everyone experiences primary and secondary emotions

Let’s examine our two charts beginning with Primary emotions.

 

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND EMOTIONS part five

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND EMOTIONS                                                              part five

Fruit

Spirituality is a life normally dominated by primary emotions—primary in the sense that these are what Christian existence is founded upon. Note how each term of the fruit of the Spirit carries an emotional connotation.

But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, good goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control Gal.5:22,23.

The work of the Spirit of God in the fruit that he produces is in stark contrast to the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21): “…hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, … and similar things. The contrast to the fruit of the Spirit may be negative and sinful but it is also deeply emotional. The result is that the fruit of the Spirit replaces an emotionally powerful set of opposites. The work of the Spirit is obviously in the arena of the emotions.

This evidence of the emotional impact of the Spirit of God is also found in Eph 5:18 where Paul tells the believers in Ephesus to not get drunk with wine resulting in dissipation and instead to allow the deficits to be filled up by spiritual qualities. These result in singing and gratitude and mutual submission. Both of those experiences must be profoundly emotional.

Filling emphasizes applying the resources of the Spirit of God to our individual weaknesses. In Eph 5:18 the condition of drunkenness must be changed to joy and a disciplined life through the filling of the Spirit.

Dress up

Paul admonishes us to: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Romans 13:14.

We now turn our attention to scripture to consider more specifically the outworking of this ministry of the Spirit looking generally at Pauline teaching and concluding with a more detailed examination of Col 3:1-12. This section is important because it underscores the reality of many factors within our lives and the entire Trinity is involved in the Spirit’s positive impact upon our emotions.

Management of our Emotions

  1. The management of our emotions involves our imagination (how we reckon; Rom 6:11)
  2. our mind (how we set our perspective; Rom 8:5-7)
  3. and our ego or self (how we relate to God and people). The terms fall naturally into that order because how we relate to people and to God is based on how we imagine the world to be and God to be, and how we analyze what life presents to us.

Management of our emotions is a by-product of several such factors. In New Testament terms the “by-product” nature of emotions is illuminated using fruit and tree imagery. Matthew 7:15-20 and Gal 5:22 underscore the fact that character, the proper use of emotions and our inner life, is a product of a healthy set of spiritual processes or a healthy tree. Seemingly the healthy tree is the identity, perspective, and relationships of the righteous person. This makes the entire process more holistic and fits the biblical and psychological realities well.

What we must do to gain and maintain spiritual health.

  1. We must recognize or differentiate what is going on within our emotional life and in the management of our appetites (Gal 5:16-24). This gives us information as to where we are starting from, either with spirituality or carnality.
  2. We reckon or decide after thinking about it for a while on how God the Father views us, we control our imagination. This reckoning becomes the basis of our relationship to God as a Father.
  3. We must set our minds on our relationships above; we control our thinking (Rom 8:1-6; Col 3:1-3). The terms used in both Rom 8 and Col 3 refer to perspective as the way that we look at something.
  4. By reckoning we relate to God personally instead of to our appetites (Rom 6:11-12). The focus of a person’s inner life can either be the God on the outside or the appetites on the inside. Sadly, our appetites many times have far more impact on many of us than God does. The focus of our inner person must be on God the Father, and our identity before him as found in Christ, and not in our appetites. So, no matter the level of pressure from our inward desires, we must freely approach and share ourselves with God.
  5. By reckoning we control our memories (Phil 4:8-9). Believers are to take the positive blessings God brings into our lives and use them as our personal definition and assumption as to what reality is. Oftentimes the fearful and anxious person selectively takes from experience only those things that can be linked to the past trauma and dread. One can just as legitimately take the positive, noble, and happy experiences and have them as the definition of the core of reality.
  6. As a result, we experience the primary emotions. Love, joy, and peace can appear and become the stabilizing force in our personality and relationships.

Probably the clearest example of the interplay between emotions and our ability to picture God’s view of our identity with Christ, manage a perspective, and relate to God and people is Col 3:1-12. What is of great importance is to notice the sequence of transitional words and phrases that show that the sections of the passage are interconnected and interdependent.

Each new section’s application is dependent upon the practice of the preceding portion’s principles, with the result that the commands of the third and fourth sections are based upon the practice of all the preceding parts. So, the combined effect of practicing verses 1-11 allows for the compassion of verse 12.

COLOSSIANS 3:1-12

The entire ethic starts with a picture of the believer’s identity with Christ. At the same time, we are to pursue a perspective that is built around heavenly realities and relationships.

Verses 1-4. The believer is encouraged to seek the things above;

  1. those things are peace (1:20),
  2. reconciliation (1:22),
  3. our completeness ( 2:10),
  4. our identification with Christ before God and holding fast to the Head –read vs. prep for vs. (2:19).

This is very similar to the statement that every variety of spiritual blessings exists for the believer before the Father in heaven. We are to set our perspective around these realities because we have been identified with Christ.

This is an identity hidden from the world, but the important reality is that the hiding is God’s choice. The all-important one, God, not only intimately knows this identity, he is also the one who has chosen to hide our identity in relationship to him. At the proper time when Christ is revealed to the world, so will our identification be revealed (v. Col. 3: 4). What should control our perspective is the picture that God has of us. In Greek the commands of this section emphasize that these should be a continual part of the believer’s life. We should not allow this exercise to slack, but instead pursue God as defined by these realities they should be continual with us. As we do this, a door will be opened to the management of our inner life.

Verses 5-7. As the relationship to the Father is pursued, we can deal with the moods and desires that are an ever-present problem on this earth. We can put them to death as they course through our members. This can only be done though as the previous relationships are sustained and used. We do this by taking the mood or appetite into the Father’s presence and relating the feelings within to him. In doing this we can transition from unbridled appetite to self-control as the person of the Holy Spirit makes this adjustment.

We can go from great anxiety to great peace. Our identity in Christ gives us permission to be richly personal concerning our internal struggle: seeking the things above deeply affects the way we perceive things and therefore changes the way we feel; setting our perspective properly also has a deeply emotional result.

Verses 8-11. As we deal with compulsions from within through a living relationship with God, we find the ability to deal with our relationships without. Many of our external relationships are simply lived in reaction to what is going on within. As the Proverb says, with all that we guard, we must guard the heart, for from it are the goings-fourth of life (Prov 4:23).

Jesus observed that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 12:34) (Col. 3:12). All three passages—Proverbs, Matthew, and Colossiansare saying the same thing: address what is going on within and it will become the basis for changing how we are acting with people without.

Verse 12.  As the three previous practices are learned, the heart finds peace, joy, and love more and more present. With those emotions becoming the environment of the heart, the believer is free to look at people in a new way, sympathetically, and relate to them in a new way as a servant for their good. Without addressing the turmoil internally, the believer would never notice the needs and problems of the people we must live among. As we manage our inner lives, we are given the opportunity to become other-directed people.

THE EMOTIONS OF GOD THE FATHER, CHRIST AND PAUL   

THE EMOTIONS OF GOD the Father, Christ and Emotions of Paul                                    introduction

Emotions can often be a fickle dish. Still, emotions are made by the finger of God. We are made in the image of God, and as such, we find ourselves in worship before an emotional God who loves, fights, cries, gets jealous, and embodies compassion at every turn of Scripture. Emotions are central to the life of God as they are to the life of faith.

We must not overlook the many emotions God ascribes to Himself in the Bible. God uses language we can understand to teach us that he is not an unfeeling being.

  1. The heart of God is mentioned in Genesis 6:6 – “The LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
  2. Grieved.
  3. The rebellion of Israel in the wilderness grieved the Lord.
  4. Psalm 78:40 – “How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert.”
  5. Wrath and displeasure Psalm 2:5 – “Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath.”
  6. Laughing. Psalm 2:4 – “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them.”
  7. Anger
  8. Jeremiah 7:18-19
  9. The anger of Jehovah is mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah
  10. Joy
  11. Isaiah 6:2-5
  12. The joy of God is referred to by the prophet Isaiah.
  13. Love. John 3:16
  14. Vengeance
  15. Deuteronomy 32:35
  16. God brings vengeance upon evil doers.
  17. Hate
  18. Deuteronomy 16:21-22
  19. God hates graven images that are set up to represent Him or take His place.
  20. Pleasure. In Isaiah 53:10, God is referred to as having the ability to experience pleasure.

THE EMOTIONS OF CHRIST

  • Philippians 2:5-8 (Read)
  • Hebrews 4:14-15 – “Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.”

The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus took upon Himself the nature of a servant (man, in the flesh). Therefore, He understands our emotions…

Nonetheless, he guarded His emotions and never allowed them to carry Him into sin He is the perfect example of how good and controlled emotions benefit our lives. He was emotional on many occasions, but His emotions were appropriate and always under control. The point is this . . . It’s okay to be emotional if we handle it like the Lord did.

  1. Compassion
  2. Matthew 9:36
  3. Jesus was a man of compassion. The Greek word here refers to being moved inwardly; feelings, emotions.
  4. Properly-controlled anger
  5. Mark 3:5
  6. The word for anger is “orge.” It suggests a settled condition of mind, even though a strong emotion may be in one’s bosom.
  7. The Greek word translated “wrath” is “Thumos.” It indicates a more agitated condition of the feelings, an outburst of wrath from inward imagination. This is not what Jesus had.
  8. Jesus had “orge.” He was in control of His emotions and actions.
  9. Weeping
  10. Three accounts of Jesus having wept.
  11. Wept at the tomb of Lazarus. John 11:32-35 (sympathy and sorrows of others)
  12. Wept over the city of Jerusalem. Luke 19:41 (Over lost opportunities)
  13. Wept in the garden of Gethsemane. Hebrews 5:7  (Weeping in battle)
  14. The Greek word translated wept in John 11:35 is “dakruo,” and means to shed tears, and is only used in the New Testament with reference to Christ.
  15. In Luke 19:41, the word here is “klaio” and refers not only to crying, but also every outward expression of grief, bewailing, mourning, etc.

D Agony . . . anguish

  1. Luke 22:44 – “Being in anguish [agony], He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
  2. This denotes an inward emotional contest which also touches the conduct of the body.” Jesus was truly weeping in battle.
  3. Love
  4. John 20:2
  5. The love mentioned here is “Phileo,” and here refers to tender affection.
  6. Groaned
  7. 1. John 11:38
  8. Jesus groaned in His spirit.
  9. The Greek word used here (embrimaomai) means to be greatly perturbed in mind, deeply moved. CSB translates it as angry. “The Jesus, angry in Himself, came again to the tomb . . . “
  10. Sighed
  11. Mark 8:12; 7:34
  12. The original word, “anastenazo,” suggests a very deeply drawn sigh or groan from within because of feelings.
  13. Cried out
  14. Matthew 27:46
  15. It is said that Jesus experienced every form of pain in His death on the cross.
  16. Crying out was one of the ways He found relief from His pain.
  17. Sorrowful & Heavy in spirit
  18. Matthew 27:46
  19. Jesus experienced such deep emotions. So much was at stake.
  20. Joy
  21. John 15:11; 17:13
  22. The Lord wanted to share His joy with His people.
  23. Loneliness
  24. Matthew 26:40-46; John 6:15; Luke 9:18
  25. This was not because of an inner weakness, or feeling of insecurity, but because of the agony that was before Him.
  26. Control of His emotions 1 Peter 2:23 – “When reviled, He did not revile in return; when suffering, He did not threaten, but committed Himself

to the One who judges justly. ”

Note: Jesus was not a stoic who kept Himself above feelings.

  • Isaiah 53:4 – “Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.”
  • The song says, “Jesus knows all about my troubles.”
  • We learn from Jesus that it is okay to be emotional . . . However, the challenge is to keep our emotions within healthy bounds.

THE EMOTIONS OF PAUL

Paul’s emotions covered the spectrum from hate to love . . . from no compassion to compassion . . . from misguided zeal to controlled zeal, etc. From the day he met Christ, his life was never the same again . . . and neither should our lives be the same ever again. Time and time again in his writings he reveals his tender emotional feelings. He was a man of great self-control.

  1. Deep emotional feelings
  2. Philippians 1:7-8; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Colossians 3:12
  3. Paul had deep emotional feelings, inward affection, for his brethren.
  4. Suffering
  5. Philippians 1:13, 2-30
  6. Paul considered his suffering for Christ to be a blessing.
  7. Joy
  8. Philippians 2:2, 17
  9. Note: Paul’s joy was never determined by outward circumstances.
  10. Humility
  11. Philippians 3:4-10; 2 Corinthians 12:21
  12. Paul was not puffed up by his own importance.
  13. Contentment
  14. Philippians 4:11
  15. Paul had to learn to be content . . . and so must we.
  16. This was a great contributor to his mind.
  17. Note: Paul knew things are the way they are without because things are the way they are within.
  18. Calmness
  19. Acts 20:24
  20. Paul was a clam man even in the face of persecution.
  21. Right attitudes
  22. 2 Corinthians 12:7-11
  23. Paul had the right attitude toward his “thorn in the flesh.” H. Heaviness . . . sorrow
  24. Romans 9:2
  25. He felt for his brethren and their respective situations.

IT’S OKAY TO BE EMOTIONAL

  1. We are not stoics . . . we are not zombies . . . If anything, Christianity puts real life and care into our feelings.
  2. An old Negro spiritual descries the emotional challenges we face: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve see;

Nobody knows but Jesus.   Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down- Oh yes, Lord!Sometimes I’m almost to the ground.    On yes, Lord!”  It is not always possible for a person to always be “high” emotionally; likewise, it is not desirable for him to always be on an emotional “low.” God wants us to be in control of the emotions that can harm us physically and spiritually. Whether we are emotionally high, low, or somewhere in between, we should not permit our emotions to lead us into sin.

 

The Holy Spirit and Emotions Part four

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND EMOTIONS                part four

Emotions are an ignored reality in much of the Christian Church, but it is not so in the Bible. Within the Bible’s pages the Trinity manifests a rich emotionality. Within the New Testament the Person of the Holy Spirit not only manifests rich emotions Himself but is given to the believer to profoundly influence her or his emotional life. As we cooperate with the Spirit and sound spiritual principles, we shall experience an increasingly rich emotional life. The health of our emotions is a critical category of our spiritual life. The why and how of that is explored.

THE TRINITY—THE SOURCE OF OUR EMOTIONS

Where do these amazing things called emotions come from? Feelings are the bane and blessing of our existence: a blessing, for example, as they create a DEEP joy within us as we look upon our children; or a SENSE loss as we experience times of grief. At those various times our emotions match the delights and disasters of life. The source of emotions is a surprising place. This ability to feel comes from our being made in the image of God.

What is true of our bodies is true of our emotions: God did it! Our bodies are repositories of wonder. Within our frame is an unimaginably complex set of abilities. From whistling a tune, to thinking up the splitting of the atom, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet the greatest wonder of all is, all of this is expressed by a moving and flexible pile of chemical and electrical activity. Such is so wonderful that it makes the existence of God reasonable. Not only what we can bring forth is a marvel but what is within is also. Inside of us is a world of emotions, appetites, and imagination.

Our ability to do things without (like I am doing now) and sense things within exists because God molded clay into an electric chemical masterpiece that makes the complexity of the most advanced computer laughable. What was his model in doing so? The answer is himself. We are flesh and blood expressions of the divine; we are made in his image.

PURPOSE OF OUR EMOTIONS.

Our emotions tell us of our spiritual state. The emotions, by whether they enhance our lives or else they afflict our lives, tell us where we are with God. Spirituality is a life normally dominated by primary emotions. These primary emotions are encapsulated in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).

We will cover the primary emotions in part five using the Fruit of the spirit Gal.5:22-23 and Colossians 3:1-12.  Each term of the fruit of the Spirit carries an emotional connotation. If love for others is present, along with contentment with life, and a deep sense of wellbeing, that means we are being ministered to by the Spirit of God.

We must recognize what is going on within our emotional life and in the management of our appetites Gal. 5:16-24.

Carnality is a life dominated by misused emotions and appetites (Gal 5:19-21). IT IS A CHOICE FOR LUST RATHER THAN GOD (Rom 6:11-12). If confusion, addictive feelings, and discontent are present, the person’s state may certainly be carnal or non-spiritual.

We cannot be spiritually mature without a ministry to our own emotional life. In this text, Col 3:1-12, setting one’s mind on things above (vv. 1-2) becomes the first step in the process of controlling one’s emotions.

This gives us information as to where we are starting from, either with spirituality or carnality.

Our emotions tell us about our thoughts and perspectives. Our emotions (Col 3:2, 8) READ may be present before our conscious thoughts. This may be due to the Fall. The reason they may be a result of the Fall is that the level of confusion that occurs between the thoughts and emotions may reflect fallen realities. Whom did we obey when we were dead in our personal spirit? Who was Lord over us?

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK

If it is true that the work of the Holy Spirit is involved with our emotions, then the work of the Spirit of God is profoundly psychological in regards to the mind or mental actions. Moreover, even though the Holy Spirit is a divine, mysterious presence, he occupies a strategic place within us. He functions at the confluence(MERGING) of our imagination, perspective, ego, and emotions. At this confluence where two or three things merge, He works synergistically (TO CREATE A BETTER FINAL OUTCOME) within us. As we relate to God as a Father through our identity in Christ, deep change takes place through the Spirit of God.

Spiritual realities are emotional realities. One cannot say that counseling and psychology deal only with emotional issues. Emotional issues are intertwined with spiritual issues, for the nature of spirituality is relational and relationships are deeply emotional as even a quick glance of the fruit of the Spirit would show. This means that spiritual realities have psychological implications and vice versa.

Spirituality involves nearly everything. In much of evangelicalism, a false spirituality is placed in the

[slowly emphasize intellect, psychological, physical]

space between the intellectual, psychological, physical aspects of humanity. No such space exists. Biblical spirituality is the management of all those aspects in relationship to the reign of the Trinity.

The work of the Spirit is synergistic. Synergy is two or more things working together in order to create something that is bigger or greater than the sum of their individual efforts.

It is more than just cooperation with the Spirit; it is cooperation with the Trinity. In prayer we relate to the Father. As we do so we remain confident and conformed to the life of the Son. The Spirit empowers us. This empowerment can be sovereign as in his flooding ministry (Luke 1:15, 41, 67; overwhelmingly filled) or we can cooperate as in his filling ministry (Eph. 5:18; filled with character the mental and moral qualities of God).

Our character is developed through our experiences and what we choose to learn and do from them… character in many ways is a combination of our mind, will and emotions our soul, and backbone. As I have said many times character is the backbone of the soul.

HOW TO MINISTER TO OUR OWN EMOTIONS.

We must set our minds on our relationships above; we control our thinking (Rom 8:1-6; Col 3:1-3). The terms used in both Rom 8 and Col 3 refer to perspective. Meaning the way, we look and see things.

By reckoning we relate to God personally instead of to our appetites (Rom 6:11-12). The focus of a person’s inner life can either be the God on the outside or the appetites on the inside. Sadly, our appetites many times have far more impact on many of us than God does. The focus of our inner person must be on God the Father, and our identity before him as found in Christ, and not in our appetites. So, no matter the level of pressure from our inward desires, we must freely approach and share ourselves with God.

By reckoning we control our memories (Phil 4:8-9). Believers are enjoined to take the positive blessings God brings into our lives and use them as our personal definition and assumption as to what reality is. Oftentimes the fearful and anxious person selectively takes from experience only those things that can be linked to the past trauma and dread. One can just as legitimately take the positive, noble, and happy experiences and have them as the definition of the core of reality.

As a result, we experience the primary emotions. Love, joy, and peace can appear and become the stabilizing force in our personality and relationships.

As Christians we cannot afford to downplay the importance of emotions. The work of the Spirit of God is deeply emotional. Since those realities are so, they carry weighty implications for how Christians should teach and preach and counsel and lead.

Making God richly emotional does not negate his divine attributes; his omniscience, omnipotence, and sovereignty are intact but deeply enriched. He is not a dry philosopher, but a passionate lover and ruler.

 

Your Emotions Always Tell the Truth.                               3rd in Emotions series

Your Emotions Always Tell the Truth.

(Just not always the truth you think.) Numb is the new normal. Escapism masks our Inner turmoil. Emotional immaturity undermines our spiritual growth.

We run from our emotions, repress and ignore them, try to smooth our inner turbulence with wise­ sounding spiritual phrases. Still, many of us find ourselves stuck. We deal with the same struggles repeatedly. Relationships fail. We do all the right Christian things, and yet don’t sense an increased intimacy with God or the people around us.

We were created in God’s image (Gen.1:27).   That means our emotions were, too.

So why do we consider our emotions untrustworthy?

Why is emotional maturity not a part of discipleship in the church?

There must be a better way.

What happens when your maps are wrong?

Imagine you’re a pioneer on your way to a new life. You’re crossing miles of unfamiliar terrain, so you’re glad to have a map along. With that map, you hope to steer clear of the worst dangers along the way.

What you don’t know is that your map is wrong. Will you get lost? Will you stumble into danger? You never know when you’re following a bad map.

In life, we get handed all kinds of maps. Some from parents. Some from teachers and pastors. These maps are ways of thinking about life. Often these maps are full of wisdom, but sometimes they contain myths. We follow them at our peril.

Many of us have received maps like this from the church about our emotional life. Here are 4 dangerous myths about emotions that you probably learned in church.

Myth 1. Emotions Always Lie.

If you grew up in the church, undoubtedly you heard a pastor say, “Whatever you do, don’t make an emotional decision.” Like all good myths, this one has a seed of truth in it. We can all name people who followed their emotions right off a cliff. (Maybe it was us!) Emotions spike with intensity. Sometimes in response we act in short-sighted, or self-destructive ways.

So, it’s not uncommon for Christians to think of emotions as temptations or distractions, to fear that emotions can only lead us astray. But that’s not true.

Response to Myth 1: Emotions always tell us something true.

Emotions don’t lie. They can’t. Emotions are like the check engine light on the dashboard of your car. That light is there to give you information vital for keeping your car in great working order.

 

In the same way, emotions exist to bring us information about our inner world and outer circumstances. Because of the way they are designed, emotions always tell us something true; it’s just not always the truth we think or expect.

This is why learning how to listen to our emotions is a vital part of maturing in Christ. We misunderstand or misinterpret our emotions for many reasons, including immaturity, inexperience, and even sin. But that doesn’t mean our emotions are what led us astray.

Myth 2. Emotions are Always Shallow and Transitory

Our experience with emotions is that they shift. They seem to come and go. How can something that seems so fickle be of use in making decisions?

If you experience a feeling that’s uncomfortable, what should you do? Worse, what if it’s a feeling that seems out of line with God’s will? The common pastoral advice is to double down on what you know to be true. Ignore the emotion, and trust that it will go away.

Again, this myth contains a kernel of truth. Emotions come and go. But when we ignore them, we set ourselves up in a dangerous position. Why?

Response to Myth 2: Emotions are messages from our deepest places, and they won’t just go away.

Here’s an example: You may wake up tomorrow not feeling as sad as you do today, but until you face your grief and deal with it, it will remain with you.

Trying to muscle up a happy attitude isn’t honest, and it’s not faithful. That sadness is telling you something important. What you lost mattered. You need to feel and process your grief.

God knows what you’re feeling, so pretending to feel something different doesn’t help you spiritually. It only distances you from an honest and intimate relationship with God.

When we deny our emotions or pretend to feel something else, there are always consequences. Suppressed anger will burst out at the wrong time with too much intensity. Denied hurt will bloom into bitterness. Ignored grief can bring depression.

It is not a mark of weak faith to admit and face our emotions. It’s the only path to an authentic relationship with ourselves and God.

Myth 3. God Isn’t Emotional

Most of the pictures and movies I saw as a kid about Jesus portrayed him as some kind of dour, serene, guru. But that’s not the Jesus of the New Testament.

The imagery many of us have in our minds about God—the stern old man with a long, white beard—is also nowhere to be found in scripture. It has more to do with classical stories about Zeus than it has to do with the God who is the father of Jesus.

These distant, reserved, and unmoved pictures of God shape our spiritual imagination, and impact our view of emotions. But they are not what we find in the Bible.

 

Response to Myth 3: God is emotional, and our emotions were created in God’s image.

Read the gospels, and you will see Jesus comfortably express the full range of human emotion. There’s joy, happiness, compassion, and love—like you’d expect. But there’s also some of the harder, emotions. There’s frustration, anger, grief, and maybe (depending on how you read the account of the Garden of Gethsemane) even fear.

Notice how God is portrayed in the Old Testament, and you’ll see a God who has chosen to be revealed in emotional terms, often embarrassingly so. Love, joy, jealousy, even wrath is all a part of God’s experience.

It may seem safer to think of God as unemotional, but it’s not Biblical. The heart of emotional discipleship is discovering how our emotions are rooted in God’s character and learning how to express each emotion in ways that are loving.

Myth 4. The more like God you become, the less emotional you’ll be.

Ephesians 4 tells us that God’s project in our lives is to mature us in the image of Christ. We are invited to grow in Godliness. But if our picture of God is one without emotions, what does that mean?

We’re left with the idea that the more scripture we learn, the more we pray, the more spiritually mature we are, the less emotional we’ll be.

Then, when we find ourselves overcome with sadness, or fear, some of us wonder if we’re failing as Christians. Would we feel sad, or afraid like this, if our faith was stronger?

Response to Myth 4: The more connected to God we become, and the more spiritually mature we grow, the more aware of our own emotions and the emotions of others we will be.

Growing in relationship with God always means coming closer to truth. Jesus told us that He is the truth and that the truth would set us free. One of the ways this happens is that we are set free from self-justification, denial, and all the ways we distance from what’s true.

In Romans 7, Paul gets brutally honest about his own sin and weakness. In 1st Timothy, he calls himself the “chief of sinners.” This isn’t false humility. This is the natural result of spiritual maturity, where we can acknowledge what is true about our hearts.

This is the most important reason why pursuing emotional growth as a part of discipleship matters. When we misunderstand or misinterpret our emotions, we hurt ourselves and the people around us. When we deny and repress our emotions, we limit our ability to be in intimate relationships, even with God.

We have emotions because they are a part of God’s design. They are purposeful. They are a vital and necessary part of a healthy life and a growing relationship with God.

If you are intrigued by this or suspect it would be helpful to you to go deeper, you can learn more about all of this, including the scriptural background, in my new book, The Wisdom of Your Heart: Discovering the God-given Purpose and Power of Your Emotions.

Don’t let flawed maps lead you into broken relationships, and spiritual stagnancy. Learn the truth about your emotions and find yourself equipped to grow in a new way.

What the Word of God tells us about Emotions

What the Word of God tells us about emotions.            #2 in series on emotions

Psalm 139:2 – “You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away.”

One of the most emotional scenes in the Old Testament is the account of Joseph’s response when he sees his brother, Benjamin. Genesis 43:30-31 – “Joseph hurried out because he was overcome with emotion for his brother, and he was about to weep. He went into an inner room to weep. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. Regaining his composure, he said, ‘Serve the meal.’”

2 Peter 1:3 – “For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

Throughout the pages of the Bible we have accounts of people and their emotions. Some of these emotions are good, as in the case of Joseph, and some are accounts of how people violated God’s law because they weren’t in control of their emotions.

The Significance of Emotions

Why spend our time on the Holy Spirit and emotions? First, emotions are closer to us than air. They are the ever present current within us: they define the inner world and give us continual commentary on the outer world. Awareness of life even starts with emotions. Life demands an understanding of emotions. Simple existence demands an understanding of the place of emotions. They are closer to us than our skin, than the air we breathe. Emotions are as constant and present as the weather surrounding us.

 

BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF HARMFUL EMOTIONS

A careful study of the following Biblical accounts reveals the consequences of negative emotions which became sinful or harmful.

Anger –Genesis 4:1-8—Cain killed his brother because of uncontrolled anger in his heart.

Fear . . . Being afraid–In Genesis 20:2, 3, 11, Abraham lied to Abimelech about Sarah because he was afraid of losing his life. In Exodus 2:11-15, Moses fled Egypt because of fear.

Job 4:13-16. Eliphaz entered a period of fear and trembling because of a vision he had.

Jealousy and Envy—1 Kings 21:1-14  King Ahab caused the death of Naboth because he was jealous and envious of Naboth’s vineyard.

Terror – Daniel 5:6-9–King Belshazzar of Babylon couldn’t control his knees from shaking when he saw part of the hand that wrote. October, 539 B.C. Last night of the Babylonian Empire. Mene, mene,  tekel, upsharin. Belshazzar died that night.

Lust—-2 Samuel 11:1-5–David let the emotion of lust lead him into sin by committing adultery with Bathsheba.

He Stayed – 11:1–He Saw – He Sought – He Sent – He Summoned -He Sinned – 11:4, 5   James 1:13-17 – “No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. 17 Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.”

Hatred  —2 Samuel 13:2-20

Amnon had strong sexual desires (lust) for his half-sister, Tamar, which led him to rape her, and afterwards hate her.

Greed and Covetousness—Joshua 7:16-21–Achan brought defeat upon Israel because of his greed and deception.

Depression–1 Samuel 28:15-25 (Read)   King Saul became very depressed when he received God’s message from Samuel that God had rejected him as king.

Guilt–Matthew 27:3-10–Judas killed himself because of the guilt he felt after betraying Christ.

Resentment and hatred—Saul (known later as the apostle Paul) persecuted the Lord’s Church because he resented and hated it.–Acts 9:4-9—Acts 26:9-12–Galatians 1:13

Pride and arrogance—3 John 9–Diotrephes was a troublemaker in the early church because of pride and arrogance.

Selfishness—Acts 5:1-11—Ananias and Sapphira lied to God because of the selfishness in their hearts.

Sorrow—Mark 10:22–The rich young ruler, because of sorrow, turned and walked away from an opportunity to follow Jesus.

 

Good Emotions.

The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus took upon Himself the nature of a servant (man, in the flesh). Therefore, He understands our emotions.

Nonetheless, he guarded His emotions and never allowed them to carry Him into sin He is the perfect example of how good and controlled emotions benefit our lives. He was emotional on many occasions, but His emotions were appropriate and always under control. The point is this . . . It’s okay to be emotional if we handle it like the Lord did.

Compassion–Matthew 9:36–Jesus was a man of compassion. The Greek word here refers to being moved inwardly; feelings, emotions.

Properly-controlled anger–Mark 3:5–The word for anger is “orge.” It suggests a settled condition of mind, even though a strong emotion may be in one’s bosom.

The Greek word translated “wrath” is “Thumos.” It indicates a more agitated condition of the feelings, an outburst of wrath from inward imagination. This is not what Jesus had.

Jesus had “orge.” He was in control of His emotions and actions.

Weeping–Three accounts of Jesus having wept.–

Wept at the tomb of Lazarus. John 11:32-35 (sympathy and sorrows of others)

Wept over the city of Jerusalem. Luke 19:41 (Over lost opportunities)

Wept in the garden of Gethsemane.  Hebrews 5:7  (Weeping in battle)

The Greek word translated wept in John 11:35 is “dakruo,” and means to shed tears, and is only used in the New Testament with reference to Christ.

In Luke 19:41, the word here is “klaio” and refers not only to crying, but also every outward expression of grief, bewailing, mourning, etc.

Agony . . . anguish–Luke 22:44 – “Being in anguish [agony], He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

This denotes an inward emotional contest which also touches the conduct of the body.” Jesus was truly weeping in battle.

Love–John 20:2-The love mentioned here is “Phileo,” and here refers to tender affection.

Groaned–John 11:38–Jesus groaned in His spirit.

The Greek word used here (embrimaomai) means to be greatly perturbed in mind, deeply moved. CSB translated  it as angry. “The Jesus, angry in Himself, came again to the tomb . . . “

Sighed–Mark 8:12; 7:34-The original word, “anastenazo,” suggests a very deeply drawn sigh or groan from within because of feelings.

Cried out–Matthew 27:46–It is said that Jesus experienced every form of pain in His death on the cross.

Crying out was one of the ways He found relief from His pain.

Sorrowful & Heavy in spirit–Matthew 27:46–Jesus experienced such deep emotions. So much was at stake.

Joy– John 15:11; 17:13– The Lord wanted to share His joy with His people.

Loneliness–Matthew 26:40-46; John 6:15; Luke 9:18–This was not because of an inner weakness, or feeling of insecurity, but because of the agony that was before Him.

Control of His emotions –1 Peter 2:23 – “When reviled, He did not revile in return; when suffering, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to the One who judges justly. ”

Note: Jesus was not a stoic who kept Himself above feelings.–Isaiah 53:4 – “Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regard Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.”

The song says, “Jesus knows all about my troubles.”

We learn from Jesus that it is okay to be emotional . . . However, the challenge is to keep our emotions within healthy bounds.

 

IT’S OKAY TO BE EMOTIONAL–We are not stoics . . . we are not zombies . . . If anything, Christianity puts real life and care into our feelings.

It is not always possible for a person to always be “high” emotionally; likewise, it is not desirable for him to always be on an emotional “low.” God wants us to be in control of the emotions that can harm us physically and spiritually.

Whether we are emotionally high, low, or somewhere in between, we should not permit our emotions to lead us into sin.

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