think your way healthy

August 29, 2016

thinking over feeling

I was going through some old notes and journals today while cleaning up my desk and found some quotes I wrote down about emotions. Some of you may not be old enough to remember mood rings, they were a quickly passing fade. They were supposed to turn colors to suit your moods or emotions.

So here’s the quote; “I feel like a mood ring, tossed into a bowl of skittles.”

Emotions can be like a roller coaster ride, only the brakes are out on mine.

If emotions can be worn on your sleeve, who stole my shirt.

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. Setting aside the biblical realities and the evangelical scene, 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. We need to understand and manage them.

Second, emotions come with great intensity. Most of us struggle with our emotions. A thought may be put out of the mind; it is not necessarily so with a fearful emotion. When a person is filled with dread, the source may be a fearful thought or situation, yet the force of the emotions is what makes the individual preoccupied. We cannot flee from our feelings; therefore, we must deal with them.

Third, the evangelical’s approach to emotions may be the weakest part of our “system” of spirituality. Note just the differences between charismatics and the Bible movement with reference to emotions. Time after time all of us have heard the biblically-oriented evangelical question the validity of emotions. At the same time the charismatic often elevates emotional experiences to the level of definitive spiritual reality. We desperately need clarity in the area.

Fourth, not only is the place of emotions a significant issue in the evangelical movement, but the place of the emotions is a significant issue within the pages of the Bible. For example, as we shall see, the management of the emotions is critical to the spiritual life. One of the ministries of the Spirit of God is to mold the human ability to have emotions into an instrument for the display of Christ’s character. A very practical understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role relative to our emotions will lead to a deeper understanding of the spiritual life.

Fifth, with the counseling revolution going on in our circles, clarity is needed concerning the place of emotions. The doorway to the inner life is not the world of dreams as it was with Freud, but among contemporary counselors it is the experience of emotions. Since emotions are where the counselor begins, a proper understanding of them will help define the relationship between the pastor and counselor.

Sixth, whether the counseling revolution occurred or not, pastors in their teaching and leading need to understand the function of emotions. Many view pastors as having nothing to say about the world of emotions. We will see that pastors of all people in the helping professions should have the most to say. The pastor is not playing a pivotal role, however, in the church’s understanding of emotions. Many believe that more evangelicals with significant emotional problems are going to Christian and non-Christian counselors rather than their pastors.

Seventh, effective preaching demands a clear understanding of emotions. A misconception exists in many places that a deeply emotional sermon striking the congregation with power is, on the face of it, suspect because “it is emotional.” That may be a mistaken understanding. Deeply emotional sermons and a strongly felt response may just mean that the preacher has communicated clearly. The emotions exist because both the preacher and the congregation apprehended the perceived existential greatness of what was being taught.

Finally, emotions do not authenticate truth; emotions cannot verify the historicity of the resurrection of Christ or other historical and theological realities. Emotions, however, do authenticate our understanding of the truth. A happy heart is the greatest evidence of the apprehension of spiritual truth. In the Bible, truth is supposed to strike the life with positive emotional force. Truth without effect is an unknown within scripture.

So it is vitally important to control our emotions, our imagination and our thoughts. The Christian who has managed this is far ahead in the race of maturity, stability and good mental health as well as good spiritual health. Your emotions are a good barometer.

The most important truth I can leave you right now is this; it is ALWAYS thinking first, emotions second, it is NEVER the other way around. Don’t like your emotions, change your thinking.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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