LifeLink Devotions (Click link for audio version)
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
I have been in denial for a long time. I used to think I didn’t have a problem controlling my emotions. I have since discovered the honest truth that I simply bury them underneath a false pretense of emotional stability. I was taught as a child that there were good emotions and bad emotions, and to become like Christ we had to bury the bad emotions and cover ourselves only in the good ones. I can smile at someone I’m mad at with the best of you.
Emotions are never evil. They are part of the created image of God in us. They have been corrupted by sin so they may produce sinful actions, but the emotion itself is not evil. In Ephesians 4:26 the Apostle Paul says, “In your anger do not sin.” Anger is not sin, but it can produce sinful behavior.
The reason I tell you all of this is to help us open up and evaluate our emotional responses to circumstances and people’s actions. We have minimized and sometimes overlooked the unrighteousness of our actions that spring from uncontrolled emotions. We sometimes even defend our emotional reactions as righteous indignation, comparing ourselves to Jesus when He cleared the temple of the moneychangers. But let’s be very careful – Jesus had no selfishness in Him and did nothing for personal benefit. Before we begin to defend our emotional outbursts and responses, let’s make sure we are that pure.
James challenges us with this thought – for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 4:20)Mature members of the Body of Christ have an honest sense of their emotional state, and are growing to become emotionally stable.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself today as you consider the emotional aspect of being a mature Christian:
- Do my emotions reflect the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
- Do I tend to justify my emotional responses because of the benefit they are to me or because of the righteous life they model to others?
- How does an angry outburst like yelling or hitting model the righteous character of Christ who remained silent when reviled and did not strike back when struck?
- How does a sarcastic or hurtful comment model the righteous responses of Christ who spoke words of love and forgiveness to those who nailed Him to the cross?
- How does worry and frustration model the peace of God that passes all understanding?
Think about these things as you open up your emotional life to the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. Emotional stability is a part of the righteous life God desires.
Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING. LifeLink Devotions will return on Monday.