I believe that most of you will find this teaching to be most interesting and beneficial. Most of us never give the subject a second thought, but emotions affect almost everything that we do -- good and bad. Let's all get on the same track and take a look at a very good comprehensive definition of the word ‘emotion’.
Emotion -- agitation of the passions or sensibilities often involving physiological changes. It involves any strong feeling, as of joy, sorrow, reverence, hate, or love, arising subjectively rather than through conscious mental effort.
I found this definition to be most interesting especially the part about the physiological changes. A person's body actually changes in certain ways depending on the emotion that is being experienced or expressed. So emotions are very important and must be regulated according to the Word of God and not according to the world. Also, all of the above feelings that are mentioned arise subjectively. This means that we have no control over these emotions without a knowledge of God's Word. Therefore, our emotions then can have control over us and this can result in very serious consequences. We are going to go to the Word of God now and discuss a number of situations that involve emotions. We are going to see the benefits of positive emotions and the detriments of negative emotions. We will see that the Word of God will help us to control our emotions and express only positive emotions which will yield positive results.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. – Colossians 3: 2
A more literal translation of this verse would be to set your thinking on spiritual matters, not things that are of the earth. The key word here is " thinking". The word affection is old English and should be translated thinking. Is thinking an emotion? Of course it is. The way we think affects our life and the way that we live. So we must categorize thinking as an emotion.
What does God say we are to think about? He says to think about things that are above or more clearly, to think about spiritual matters. Spiritual matters will keep you thinking on a positive plane. Spiritual matters, of course, refers to the Word of God. When we focus on God's Word all day long, we will be blessed. Now in contrast to this, there is a different type of emotion that is similar but is a counterfeit to spiritual matters. And that is mentioned in the second part of the verse. God warns us not to think about things that are on the earth. The present God of this world is the devil and if we are to think about things that are on the earth, then our emotions will focus on the devil and his methods. This will result in a negative attitude and negative results in our life. Here is another verse that deals specifically with what we should think and speak on.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think [or speak] on these things. -- Philippians 4: 8
These are all positive emotions and every believer should work to master this verse. You cannot find a negative emotion in the complete verse. Take a closer look and study the verse. One time a great believer and leader wrote Philippians 4: 8 in a letter to me and said ‘some day you are going to think like this.’ I was new in the Word and often said or mentioned negative subjects. I never forgot her reproof and correction and never will and I made adjustments to comply with the Word in this area.
Do you see how important emotions are? The first short verse of Scripture sums up a great deal about our subject matter and so does the second Scripture. That is why I chose them to begin our teaching. Now we will delve into more details concerning emotions and how they affect our lives and what is the proper way to handle emotions. Remember, emotions can be very beneficial and they can also be quite deadly. Again, most people do not realize the importance of this subject matter and they never even give it a second thought.
A lot of times we just give up. It happens to me and I'm sure you've experienced the same emotion. The Word of God warns us about this type of emotion and its source which is the god of this world. If that God can get you to give up on all or most of your goals, he is going to defeat you. So this is an emotion just like any other emotion where we can say we give up or we are at the point where we cannot go on because we are discouraged and there is too much mental tribulation. This trick is very deadly and I mentioned it because it often happens to me. I expect too much too fast from the true God. God says to wait on Him. He doesn't say how long you have to wait, but many times it seems like a very long time before God answers your prayers. Why does this happen? Because God knows the exact right time that your prayers should be answered. He will never give you something that you cannot handle. This is summed up in the following Scripture.
(And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.) – Galatians 6: 9
Notice that this verse is a parentheses and that means it is a figure of speech which is an explanation. You can easily read from verse eight to verse 10 and not lose any of the thought. But God put this figure of speech in here because of the importance as an explanation in this context.
As far as giving up is concerned, God is saying, “Don’t quit on me when you're in the midst of doing well. You may have to learn more to finish your specific goal and I will teach this to you. But don't give up on me.” Then God goes on to say that in due time or the exact right moment, you shall reap the results of your efforts. What you are striving for will come true and then there is that big word ‘if’’. God assures us that if we have patience and continue to strive towards our goal, then in due time, we will be successful IF we faint not. These last four words “if we faint not” are referring to your attitude -- they are referring to your mind. That Word is saying not to faint or to give up in your mind. This is positive believing and we must master this principle to be able to live a more than abundant life.
I read a poem once that spoke about this subject and I never forgot the importance of this poem. The author was trying to tell us that we should never give up because the very next effort that we make could be the one that brings us success. Now think about that just for a few moments. Let us take something very simple. You're attempting to repair a small appliance. You are trying and trying and trying and nothing seems to work, so you give up and appliance goes in the trash. Then there's the man who keeps trying and trying and just won't give up. You see, he will not quit in his mind, but he believes and he takes positive action towards that believing. This man made one more attempt than the previous person who gave up and in that last attempt, he repaired the appliance. I know that's an unusual example, but it gets the point across. When we are doing well, an example of this could be my teaching you God’s Word for absolutely nothing. I never take or took any money from anyone even though they asked me about it. Because I know of the great benefits of witnessing God's Word, I do not tire of what I'm doing. I am not weary in well doing because I know, as the Scripture says, in due time, I will reap the results of my actions. The most difficult time that I have with this principle is waiting on God. Sometimes God seems to take forever and this gives me problems. Let's face it, we are all human and we only have so much patience. But if you adhere to the principle and don't give in to the emotion of giving up as a result of discouragement, you will control that emotion and you will reap positive results in your life every time.
For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. -- Proverbs 6: 34
Jealousy is a combination of envy and covetousness. These are what I refer to as combination devil spirits. I hesitate to teach on this subject since it might scare some people, so I've decided to break the teaching apart whenever I can.
Why does the Word say that jealousy is the rage of a man? One time a new neighbor moved in next door and I decided to say hello to his wife. It turned out that we had very similar personalities, likes and dislikes. We really did enjoy speaking to one another and had a great conversation. Before I knew it, the husband came outside and he interrupted the conversation. I could see the jealousy in his face and actions and he had no reason to feel this way. After this one situation, he made sure that she kept away from me and that became the end of our neighborly relationship. He eventually moved away. Can you imagine that such a situation would happen as a result of jealousy? The Word says that the jealous man will not spare in the day of vengeance. He attempted to achieve vengeance upon me (instead it was a relief) by moving away simply because I was able to speak to his wife in a very friendly and positive manner. He was consumed with jealousy which is one of the strongest emotions there is and he actually moved away because I got along with his wife. I never forgot that situation and I probably never will. I'm glad I could use it to teach you something in case something like this has happened to you.
Along with jealousy comes envy and strife and along with these negative emotions emanate confusion and every evil work. You could see in the short story above that all of these emotions came to pass. The situation was confusing and it involved every evil work. This man's wife was a wonderful woman who had a beautiful heart and she was forced to make a choice between my friendship and her husband. You can guess the choice that she made. None of this made any sense to me, but I knew that God was teaching me something.
Another emotion that works hand-in-hand with these evil works is covetousness. This man coveted his wife to a great extent where she could not even have a normal conversation with another man. There are all forms of covetousness. The neighbor buys a truck and you feel jealous, envious, and you go out and buy a truck, not because you need one but because the neighbor bought one. This is how strong many emotions can be on the negative end. These are serious situations and not to be taken too lightly.
Believe it or not, envy is the reason for the first recorded murder in the Bible. Cain slew Abel because he was envious of what his brother had. Cain was the first person born of the seed of the serpent. So don't ever think that envy cannot be a dangerous emotion. It can result in an act of murder of somebody else because they're envious of that person or what they have or own just like in Genesis. The following is a Scripture that addresses the emotion of the envy. If you have problems with this emotion, you should learn this Scripture by heart and repeat it every time you feel afflicted.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. -- James 3: 16
So now you know that if confusion and every evil work prevails, it is the result of envy and strife. We need to be sharp on these things so that we can recognize what is going on spiritually. These are mighty keys to the more than abundant life and you must master them by your own free will.
Vengeance is another terrible negative emotion and can result in extreme serious consequences. Whether you know it or not, you are never to seek vengeance -- it is God's job and not yours. I know this is difficult -- very difficult at times. But if we do what God says, we will receive the blessings of His advice. Here is the Scripture that addresses vengeance in a most specific manner.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. -- Romans 12: 19
You really need to dissect this Scripture because I misinterpreted what was said for many years. Another believer helped me to understand and rightly divide the Scripture. I misunderstood one single word and that word was ‘wrath’. I kept thinking it was referring to the person’s wrath, BUT it was referring to God's wrath. Do you see how easy it is to wrongly divide God's Word? God is saying not to avenge yourselves, but to give place (or to get out of the way) for God's wrath. Then God goes on to say that vengeance is God's. He says that He will repay. Now the verse makes sense where in the first sentence God says to give place to His wrath. It is not your wrath. If it were then you would be seeking vengeance and the whole verse would fall to pieces. I had no end of trouble with this verse for many years until a woman of God sat down with me and explained it to me rightly divided. So if you make a mistake, don't get all bent out of shape. We will make mistakes and eventually God will help us to correct those mistakes.
Let's take a look at a verse in Ephesians that combines a group of negative emotions. Then we will do our best to find the positive emotions that are throughout the Word of God.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: -- Ephesians 4: 31
These are all negative emotions and are very destructive. God says to put them away from you with all evil thoughts that go along with them. Now let's talk about some positive emotions -- one in particular that will never fail you.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. -- Colossians 3: 14
It says clearly in Ephesians that the love of God never fails. CHARITY is the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. In chapter 13 of I Corinthians, all of the attributes of the love of God are mentioned and they are nothing but positive. You must be born again to be able to manifest the love of God. The love of God aligns with the Word of God. God is also love and so to experience that love for God, you must know God's Word because God is His Word. You might want to read that sentence again.
Let's take a look at humility which is a positive emotion.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. -- James 4: 10
Because the present world in which we live in is so negative, many times it makes us feel down and out. But if you stay humble or teachable in the sight of God Almighty, He will lift you up. He will make you feel better and He will take away the hurt that you feel. Many times a believer, especially a leader, feels very lonely because he or she must stay to themselves to be able to concentrate and focus on teaching God's Word and leading God's people. Many times, I turn to God and ask Him to help me since I do not always know exactly what is trying to afflict me. The enemy is only going to go after the stronger Christians -- the ones that are doing harm to his kingdom. Apparently, I am one of them. So every so often when I get a nice letter from someone, it helps me a great deal. I know that what I'm doing has great prophet first for God Almighty, and then for His people. I was taught once something that I felt was difficult to absorb. “When it comes to God's Word, you have no friends.” I trusted believers with my heart and soul and had a tendency to get very close to people. A number of these people have turned on me for no reason whatsoever. This I know is my personal adversary trying to discourage me from continuing to teach God's Word. You need to remember this because God expects you to be able to put up with a certain amount of tribulation. If it gets out of hand, believe me, He will come directly to your aid. So stay humble in the sight of God and He will lift you up.
Another very positive emotion that you can develop in the renewed mind is forgiveness.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. -- Ephesians 4: 32
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. – Colossians 3: 15
Now how about that for a positive emotion? I pray for peace almost every single day of my life. This is one of the positive emotions that are lacking from most people alive today. The opposite of this emotion causes all types of physical and emotional ailments. If we can learn to be peaceful, by focusing on God's Word all day long, we will experience a life that is beyond our dreams. God wants that peace to rule or overcome our lives. Why? Because we are called in one body and that body is Christ where Jesus Christ is the head and we are all members in particular of his body. You need to understand this because it is part of the mystery that was hid from ages and generations. And notice how God says that because we have His peace available to us, we should be thankful. And we should be. We don't realize what we have as compared to the unbeliever. The unbeliever's struggles through his day trying to make sense out of what is going on while the social atmosphere in this country and in the world is going insane. The peace of God is one of the greatest benefits and emotions that we can ever experience as a result of knowing and applying God's perfect Word. How many emotions can we cover in this teaching? I am already showing that I am on page six in my word processing program. Let's go over some more positive emotions before we wrap up this teaching. Remember, I wanted you to understand and to know for a certainty the importance of emotions. They must be kept under control and the only way you can do that is by knowing the Word of God and knowing it well.
I am sure that you know that we are never to recompense evil for evil. We are to overcome evil with good. That way the evil does not control our actions. It is difficult to do at times, but when I see somebody doing something evil directed towards me, I most often avoid that person as if they had the black plague. If not, that person will trick you into a confrontation. The adversary is very stubborn in this manner and he will deceive and manipulate you in whatever way he can. If someone is evil, get away from them and don't you ever feel sorry for them because as I said time and time again, the enemy will melt your face if he gets the chance. Don't give it to him. In the process of searching through my church epistles, an idea came to me about a very simple emotion and as I said, we are going to study the positive side of this emotion because it also has a negative side.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. – Romans 12: 18
It has been my intention to speak about the second part of this verse since we already discussed the first part. There seems to be great blessings for a person who is honest today in the sight of all men. Many people who are covetous want whatever they can get and by any means. They don't realize that this is the wrong way to live.
I need to tell you about a situation that happened to me in a shopping mall. A woman passed by me and she dropped her purse. I picked up the purse and I walked back to her and I told her that I believe she dropped her purse. She looked at me in a startled manner and she said “You are going to restore my faith in mankind.” She was obviously very hurt pertaining to this subject of honesty somewhere in her life and it was some man who was extremely dishonest towards her. I was glad to see her so relieved and blessed and I walked away feeling good that I did what I did, but it was the right thing to do according to what the Word of God says. You will find out in your travels it if you do things like this for people that they will be overwhelmed with thankfulness and quite shocked. The situation in the world today is pathetic and getting worse so when you do something like this for somebody, they are overwhelmed and they usually will tell you about it. No, I don't think this is such a great act that I did, but it was something that I should have done. Why? Because I knew what the Word of God said that I should do and I did it and got blessed. If I did not know what the Word said, I may have kept the wallet and taken all the money that was in it.
This is just one example of honesty. In Ephesians it says we are not to work with eye service. This means that we only ‘look alive’ when the boss is coming down the hall. We are to work diligently whether the boss is standing over our shoulder or not. I know it's hard to do and a lot of it has to do with peer pressure. Most workers today will goof off and do nothing trying their best to get paid for doing just that -- nothing.
There are so many examples of honesty that there is no point mentioning any more. We all know what it means to be honest and sorry to say we all know what it means to be dishonest. Choose the former and God Almighty will see that you receive the blessings of your positive actions according to His Word.
Well, this teaching can go on and on forever. There are tons of emotions built within us. I simply wanted to make you aware of the importance of these emotions and how they can control your life without even realizing it. That is why God gave us His Word. His Word is our blueprint for living. His commandments are our whole reason for being alive. We were designed to live by God's Word.
If you have a really good concordance, it will include in the back a subject index and this index will guide you to Scriptures pertaining to whatever emotion or subject you are looking for. You should make good use of these research materials. In conclusion, I would like to quote one verse of Scripture that I have used many times and it sums up everything that we are trying to say and that I am trying to teach you. So enjoy and God bless until next time.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear [respect] God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. – Ecclesiastes 12: 13