The problem with emotions is that people only want to experience the “good” ones, the negative ones are detoured around as often as possible. These are the individuals who would desire to have flowers without rain, they can see no benefit to sorrow and pain, every emotion that affects them adversely is avoided at all cost, and so, as it is with most of the Lord’s creation, without rain, they never grow.
Emotions are generally the driving force behind every human being, they do not just live with them, they are ruled by them, they have not learned to keep their body under subjection. (1 Cor. 9:27) It is the mind that rules the body, not one human being has ever been created an automaton, no angel, no living creature. Free will has been given to the first two, instinct is the path the Lord has chosen for the rest. Fear is an emotion, the creatures of the earth fear man because the Lord put that in them, (Gen. 9:2) but fear is also the dominant factor in many humans, the fear of loss, of change, of security, of the unknown. The greatest fear for most of course is the fear of death, but pain rides a close second behind it, our emotions know few boundaries, even the possibility of being taken off our desired path in this world, the chance of being inconvenienced, every emotion knows a fear.
I know of no one, in fact, I would venture to say that no human being has ever lived their life without experiencing at least a moment of fear, but the Scriptures proclaim, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) Could Spurgeon, Tozer, Moody, any man or woman of God-fearing character say they never knew fear, that at times they were not ruled by their emotions, has any man ever been completely void of this seemingly ruling force in our lives. Each moment of our lives must be contemplated with great care, if you realize why you are doing what you are doing, you will never need to give a reason beyond the truth for what you did. That is the only path to keeping your body under subjection.
In these instances it is not the necessary needs of the flesh to sustain it, it is the feeding of the mind, the emotional part of us that desires, that wants, that covets and craves. These are not always a detriment to our spiritual growth of course, if “all things work together for good to them that love God,” (Romans 8:28) then the emotional context that arrives with this action is to be considered good also. There are few Christians indeed who will tell you that it is a good thing to be angry, they see it as almost sinful, yet we are commanded to “Be ye angry, and sin not.” (Eph. 4:26) Few see trials and tribulations as a possibility of growth in the knowledge of the Lord, sorrow and suffering are avoided when sometimes they are the clearest path to a deeper relationship with Christ.
Very few people indeed throughout the course of mankind have been greatly blessed to be in the fellowship of His suffering, (Phil. 3:10) most believers run from the first sign of it, not praying to learn and grow, not giving praise and thanksgiving, not standing strong in the knowledge that what has come upon them has either been sent by or allowed by God, but instead run from it, questioning, doubting. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) Our emotions are no better, for they will indeed rule all who will not subject them, and that my friends, is the majority of people on this planet.
The root cause of course is quite simple to see, a lack of faith in the direction of the life of the believer by the Sovereign Lord of all creation. People believe that we need to get out of our own way and God’s and just allow Him to use us, I used to think the same way, but I was wrong. You need to get in God’s way, you need to stand right in His path, and with great humility and reverence ask Him to use you, knock until it is answered and do not quit. We must all do what Moses did, the servant of God, (Joshua 1:2) we must stand in the gap, we must with Isaiah say, “Here I am, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) You are still going to fear, in fact more than likely more than you have ever feared before, your emotions will at times still control you, but you will know a peace that cannot be understood by but a very few. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life will still hound you, in fact, they will probably get worse, for those who have determined to be crucified with Christ are noticed by the adversary.
Those who have set their face like a flint (Isaiah 50:7) to know Christ above all else are continuously troubled individuals, they are rarely not frustrated, they wear, as it were, their emotions on their sleeves, but they are not bound by them. But these individuals know a peace that passes all understanding, for they know that whatever He allows to come into their lives is for His glory, and that this too, no matter what it is, shall come to pass. No man who is not willing to completely die to self can request to be put on this path, it is fraught with danger, it will destroy many, yet some will prevail, for by His grace and mercy they are constantly led.
Those who are controlled by their emotions still need only to memorize and understand this one verse to begin to walk upon this path, but count the cost, for it requires all that you are. “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)