There is a conundrum that exists within the human race that I personally believe is impossible to overcome, out of the billions of us that have lived on this small planet, not one single person has ever been able to achieve this goal, indeed I am not sure that anyone could.
We are emotion-based creatures, the Spirit of God that breathed life into man in the garden (Gen. 2:7) has made us such, but along with that, we have the capability to negate those emotions at times, both those that we perceive as either negative or positive to us, at least to a point. Think on this for a moment if you would, what if we were without out any form of emotional context, logical, deductive reasoning skills would be all that was employed by humans, all actions would revolve and correspond only to the rational judgement that was needed to proceed every action. No passion to perform the tasks necessary, no empathy for those who suffer, no concern for the welfare of those in need, what is, is, what needs to be done is required, not wanted for the betterment of the human race. The weak, sick, and infirmed would be left behind, for they serve no purpose in the continuance of the species, care, concern, and compassion would be unknown entities, anger, wrath, and vengeance would not just be insignificant, but a foreign concept to all.
Without emotions we would be no more than machines that perform only the tasks that have been placed before us with no concern for the consequences of our actions on either ourselves or others. Pride, lust, envy, love, joy, peace, are not irrelevant, are not factored into any equation, they would not exist.
Billions are spent each year on self-help books, psychiatrists, phycologist, counselors, group sessions, and many other areas to try to solve the ongoing, continuing problem, as it were, of our emotional state, manipulating our minds to behave in a certain fashion to create within us a sense of value, of worthiness, of contentment. Beyond these mostly accepted avenues are the areas of external substances, drugs, legal or otherwise, strong drink, and when added to them the availability of the religious organizations around the world, then it is quite easy to comprehend that the entire planet revolves around our current emotional state. How we feel either inhibits or advances our forward movement in this life.
When the Lord our God created us, He made us with emotions, Adam’s fall brought into our lives the capability to understand them in the form of their opposites, love versus hate, compassion versus apathy, it is one of the main characteristics within us, the knowledge of good and evil. Before the fall, it is quite clear that we were made with the ability to choose, with the capacity of free will, Adam did not know good and evil, but he was made with the ability to make up his own mind in any circumstance. The same could be said for the angels of God. Satan and those who were cast out with him were made by the Lord God with the ability to choose for themselves their path of eternity, albeit only two possible ends to that path have been set by Almighty God, there is no third option, eternal death or eternal life.
If we were not created with emotions, we would have no choice in any matter, we would do as we were made to perform, only one path would be set before us, the path of servitude. The free will we have been blessed with is only hindered in our service to Christ by the emotional state that we currently are in, for the emotion of fear is as much a deterrent to that service, as the emotional state of praise is to our desire to advance in that service to Him. Every born-again believer, every serious student of the Word of God has seen books that lead us to verses for the different emotional states that we may be experiencing, you may even have some of them either marked in your Bible or memorized. They are there to encourage, to calm, to give reassurance, an assurance that we should never have questioned in the first place.
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor. 9:27) Not just the flesh, but our minds, our emotional state. Are you beginning to understand “Why the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing.” (Psalm 2:1) They have nothing to assist them when their emotions begin to control them, when their feelings begin to manipulate them, when that spark, if you will, inside of them informs them without doubt that there is a Sovereign Lord who created all and is in complete control of that creation. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26) Our inability to control completely our emotions is one of the greatest, if not the greatest hindrance to our service to Christ, the free will that we have been blessed with places the burden squarely upon us to serve or not, to desire or not, no eternal influence is placed upon man save for the knowledge that God indeed does exist, from there the decision is yours.
As stated in A.W. Tozer’s book The Crucified Life,” the main question we must all ask of ourselves is this, “Who do you say Jesus Christ is, and what are you going to do with Him?” Do not think that when the old man within each of us is tossed aside when we come into glory, when the sinful nature that was brought upon us by the fall in the garden is cast away that you will automatically be a willing and obedient servant, it is not our sin nature that inhibits our desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, (2 Peter 3:18) it is us, it is our emotions, it is our free will. Adam had this same free will before Eve handed him the fruit, we do not need the knowledge of good and evil to disobey God.
Sin inhibits the follower of Christ, but it does not control us, that decision is left completely up to us, as is our emotional state in any given circumstance, it is our choice on how we address each and every circumstance. There must be taken into consideration here those born with neurological infirmities, but those are rare indeed, it is the heart that God looks upon (1 Sam. 16:7) and the mind that you have been given can quite easily override the heart. The emotional state that you are currently in is the one that you have chosen to place yourself in, your own free will is the reason you are who you are in this area at this moment. This is so much a part of our very nature my friends that God will need to wipe away all tears even in heaven. (Rev. 21:4)
The cure is not found in any office setting, no physician can hand you a prescription, no drug dealer or local liquor store holds the answer, the Word of God can give us calm assurance and lead us to the truth, but it is the Holy Spirit of God that has the only remedy. What does Jesus say, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) It is the Holy Spirit of Almighty God within us that assists us with our emotions, calmly reassuring us that we are loved with an eternal love, (Jer. 31:3) showing us a peace that passeth all understanding, (Phil. 4:7) telling us simply to believe and trust in these words, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
We have numerous examples in the Scriptures of individual emotional states, both positive and negative, but what we should be learning is that in each of them, as He has in our own lives, God has shown that He is trustworthy, that His love for us will never end, that we are loved so much that not only did He send His Son to die for us, but the Lord Jesus Christ has written your name in the palm of His hand, (Isaiah 49:16) never to be removed. Even in heaven my friends, we will know positive and negative emotions, we will glorify His name with joyous praise, and we will know the tears of sadness. It is not only the sin in our lives that inhibits our further grace in the Lord, we have the ability to repent of it every day, (1 John 1:9) it will not allow us to continue in fellowship with Christ until we confess it before Him. But it is our emotional state, the choice that we make about how we feel about any given circumstance that hinders our trust in Him, how we choose to continue to walk with Him, the amount to which we will trust and obey. When we begin to love Him of our own free will no matter the circumstances, then we have become the masters of our emotions, they no longer control us, and we will be free indeed.
“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” (Isaiah 43:1-4)