July 10, 2019
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control (Proverbs 25:28, NIV).
Friend to Friend
It is not enough to acknowledge the presence of negative emotions, or even understand why they exist. We must take action. If we don’t, negative emotions will take control.
Many of us are imprisoned by feelings of inferiority, and the results are always disastrous. Constructive criticism is perceived as an emotional attack. Jealousy burgeons as others receive the accolades we desperately crave. Decisions are made, and a course of life is determined so that fragile egos are fed, excluding God’s plan and purpose. Comparison reigns as a false idol, attempting to validate worth and success. Inferiority crosses over to pride and sin reigns.
Emotions can be like runaway horses. You are trampled by a friend with a hidden agenda, kicked in the gut by a family member, thrown by the lies of a trusted co-worker, or crushed by a lack of integrity in those in authority over you. Emotions can easily stampede out of control and into sin.
The success of emotional integrity lies in the one who holds the reins. We must constantly choose to surrender every emotion to the supernatural control of God. The Holy Spirit empowers that choice, produces control, and transforms emotional bondage into emotional freedom. Learning to control negative emotions is a crucial life lesson and one we need to master.
The people around us want to see what happens when life pushes our buttons. While God created us with the capacity for emotions, it is our responsibility to control them instead of allowing them to control us.
When Jesus saw moneychangers desecrating the temple of God, He was furious! Yet, He modeled the right way to harness emotions and use them for good. I have heard many Bible teachers and preachers attempt to soften the response of Jesus, but the truth is – He was irate! I can almost see His face shrouded in plain old fury as He contemplated His options. If I had been in His place, I can tell you that those wicked men would have been toast! But before Jesus faced the intruders, He stepped aside to braid a whip – not because He had completed “Whip Braiding 101,” but because He was taking the time to harness His emotions. Jesus then used that harnessed anger to drive the moneychangers out of the temple, correcting a wrong.
We choose where to invest every ounce of emotional energy we possess. Like Jesus, we must learn to invest wisely, in order to reap the benefits of healthy emotions, harnessed and trained by godly discipline.
Emotional bankruptcy is too often responsible for the destruction of a life. We must intentionally monitor emotional withdrawals and the impact they will have on our lives. There are certainly emotional withdrawals that are good, right and ordained by God. I will never forget the night we found a broken and defeated young pastor standing at our front door. With tears streaming down his face, John told us that his wife was having an affair and wanted a divorce. Certain that his ministry was doomed, this precious and gifted servant poured out his pain and defeat. For months, Dan and I ministered to this stellar young man, loving him, encouraging him, making him part of our family while he tried desperately to save his marriage.
When it became clear that his wife was determined to leave him, we repeatedly assured John that God would once again use him for Kingdom work. Today, that once broken young man is married to a beautiful, godly woman who adores him. They have three incredible children and the church he now pastors is exploding in growth and changing lives. The time and energy we poured into John was a worthy emotional investment and one of our greatest blessings in ministry.
However, some emotional deposits are not good, right, healthy or God-ordained. Life is jam-packed with lifeless places in which to invest emotional energy.
We need to constantly check our emotional balance, guarding the emotional withdrawals we allow and diligently making consistent emotional deposits. Prayer, solitude, Bible study, friendships, service, accountability, and a guarded thought life are just a few of the deposits that can make the difference between emotional health and emotional bankruptcy. Emotional imbalance occurs when we operate in our own strength, doing our “own thing” instead of wholly depending upon God and living in the parameters of His will. When we depend on His strength, purpose and power, the Father deposits everything we need to accomplish every good work He created us to do.
Father, I praise You for giving me the gift of emotions. Help me learn how to manage and control those emotions so that they are assets instead of liabilities. I want to become a godly woman of discipline, but I can’t even start that journey without Your power. I choose to spend time in Your Word and in prayer. I submit my emotions to You and ask that You use them in my life for Your glory.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take a few minutes to make a list of the top five emotional responses common in your life. Which emotion do you experience most?
Beside each emotion, write one habit you can incorporate into your life that will enable you to control that emotion.
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