Emotions – Are they ruining your life? – Part II
In Part I of this series we discussed the origins of emotions and the importance of understanding where these emotions are assigned during internal processing. In part two of this series we will move toward a deeper understanding of emotions.
The nature of human kind is two sided. In our carnal or natural state, man is driven by feelings and desires and is not concerned with following the leading of the Spirit. People naturally seek out that which pleases them most. Most of us have life examples of when our carnal nature sought to lead us to a place of self-gratification, but the consequences to our spiritual life would not be great. Romans 8:6-8 tell us that:
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Here the scripture highlights that in our natural state, the carnal mind (thoughts, feelings, emotions) is at “enmity against God” meaning the mind is hostile towards God and His ways. This hostile nature prevents us from submitting ourselves to God’s purpose and plan for our lives.
By allowing our carnal nature to have rule over our minds through our emotions, not only are we unable to please God but this continued course of action ultimately leads to death.
In order to avoid this trap, we must be willing to go deeper in our understanding of emotions before linking them to our decision making process.
Emotions are an external manifestation of the fleshly/carnal natures response to a catalyst or trigger. As mentioned in the previous article these catalysts are countless and varied. They can come from internal sources such as thoughts or memories, or externally as you respond to your environment or people. Since these emotions are associated with your carnal nature, they seek to have dominance in your life. Romans 7:5 says:
“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.”
The sinful nature of the flesh seeks to always lead us away from God’s plan, and into destruction. Emotions, as an extension of that sinful nature, have the same agenda. Thus, emotions should not be the primary influence in our decision making process. When we initially experience an emotion we must begin the process of asking ourselves probing questions about that emotions origin before we assign it to our head to be used for decision making.
Recently I was having conversation with my husband concerning planning for a future venture. While he was describing the work ahead I was processing this information internally. During the conversation I began to process the emotions I was feeling, based on what he was saying. Acting out what I stated in the previous article, I began to be assigned each emotion to my heart for storage, or to my head for decision making. At that time, I had multiple projects in the works. The thought of taking on another project made me frustrated and I began to feel overwhelmed. Before I made the decision to assign these emotions to my head and make an immediate decision, I began to asking myself questions. Why am I feeling this way? What is the catalyst for these emotions? Is it taking on another project or is it the timing of this conversation? What is happening in my body? Am I tired? Holy Spirit is this project wrong for us?
As I began to work through these questions, and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, I uncovered that much of what I was feeling was based on my current circumstances and had nothing to do with the project itself.
I recognized that I was about to make a lasting decision based on current emotions. By identifying the origin of my emotions, I was able to give an appropriate response and not allow my emotions to dictate my life. Romans 8:12-14 says:
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
If you allow your emotions to have full control of your decisions, you are choosing to “live according to the flesh” which will lead to destruction, and ultimately death. Choosing to be “led by the Spirit of God” gives you the distinction of being categorized as the “sons of God”. Choose today to no longer be a slave to your erratic emotions and instead resolve to rest in the peace that God provides to each of His children.
Renatha E. Lollis is the Director of Operations for Destiny Institute, a Christian advocacy non-profit primarily focused on promoting the importance of adopting a Biblical worldview within the Christian Church. She is a wife, Bible teacher and conference speaker. To contact Renatha, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.