Facts about emotion

Facts about emotions

Not all pleasant emotions are good and unpleasant emotions bad

Grief is an unpleasant emotion but is not bad. It is in fact necessary for the healing process.

Guilt is another unpleasant emotion that can work towards our good.

Grief, sorrow, depression and despair are all displayed by the Psalmists when expressing their repentance towards God.

Our thinking determines our emotions

We are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds.

(Rom 12:2 NIV)  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We are encouraged to think about good things.

(Phil 4:8 NIV)  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Trials and tribulations naturally make us depressed. But we are encouraged to think about them in a positive way and that thinking will change our depression into rejoicing.

(Rom 5:3-4 NIV)  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; {4} perseverance, character; and character, hope.

When we continue to indoctrinate our minds with Biblical truths, we are conditioning our minds with faith, hope, love, forgiveness and other positive attitudes that inevitable affect how we feel.

Controlling what goes into our minds

The world, the flesh and the devil can all influence our thinking and therefore our emotions. If we are going to learn to reduce our destructive emotions, it means that we have to be careful in monitoring our thought life.

Jesus can help us with our emotional problems because He understands them

When Jesus was betrayed and deserted by His disciples, when He was abandoned by His Father on the cross, He knows what it means to experience grief, loneliness, disappointment, etc.

Which emotions are proper and which emotions are not?

One clue is to look at the life of Jesus. The emotions felt by Jesus has to be the ones that are proper or else Jesus could be accused of sin. For example, Jesus experienced temporary grief at the lost of a loved one (eg Lazurus) but not prolonged depression. He experienced anger when His Father’s rights were not observed and when truth was rejected, but not when He was personally insulted and abused. He experienced fear when He was about to face the cross but the fear prompted Him to cry out to the Father and thenafter He was filled with boldness when confronting the authorities. He was filled with disappointment when His disciple Peter betrayed Him. But He overcame that disappointment with forgiveness.

If we look at an emotion and think that it is right, then why is there no record of Jesus experiencing that emotion? The Bible is filled with examples that emphasize His manhood.

How to cultivate good emotions
Admit our wrong emotions and repent

Denial will not help us to cope with our emotions.

Where our minds have been dwelling on thoughts that are negative or wrong, we need to acknowledge our sin.

Wrong emotions may be the work of demons but we must not abdicate of all responsibility and resort entirely to casting out demons from our lives as the solution to all our emotional problems.

We need to realize that a lot of wrong emotions are also the result of us entertaining wrong thoughts in our lives and we have an equal part to play to confess those wrong thoughts and determine to correct them.

Constantly renouncing wrong thoughts

This entails consciously renouncing wrong thoughts whenever it comes to our mind. Just because we have repented does not mean that we will be instantly free from wrong emotions. It is a process that we have to work on.

When Simon Peter had wrong thoughts about Jesus and His mission, we saw Jesus renouncing those thoughts immediately before it exerted more damage on Peter. Sometimes the thoughts are put into our heads by demons and we need to renounce them.

(Mat 16:21-23 NIV)  From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. {22} Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” {23} Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Fill your mind with right thoughts

It is not enough to get rid of wrong thoughts. If we are to enjoy good emotions or even effectively rid ourselves of bad ones, we need to constantly fill our mind with Biblical truths.

We can memorize Bible verses to counter the error that is in our mind. The Bible talks about hiding God’s word in our heart so that we will not sin against him (in this case in having inappropriate emotions).

(Psa 119:11 NIV)  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

We need to make sure every thought is glorifying to God.

(2 Cor 10:5 NIV)  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.