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Monday, September 7, 2020

God Offers Help With Our Emotions

By Joe Chesser

    When God created us, He created us capable of a wide range of emotions: amusement, anger, anxiety, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, disgust, empathy, excitement, fear, joy, love, peace, and relief, just to name a few. Emotions are complex. According to some theories, they are states of feeling that result in physical and/or psychological changes that influence our behavior. Often our behavior is governed more by emotions than evidence. That’s not necessarily a bad thing … at least not always.
    One thing that many researchers fail to acknowledge is the spiritual nature of  our emotions as they connect with God. When guided by the Holy Spirit, emotions can greatly enrich our human experience. There is no love greater than knowing the love of God (Ephesians 3.16-19). No greater peace can be experienced than that which comes from God (Philippians 4.6-7). The Scriptures encourage us to allow God, with His help, to develop positive emotions within us, things like joy, compassion, trust, patience, etc. They also instruct us to avoid or control negative emotions like anger, hatred, envy, jealousy, etc. If we neglect the Spirit’s help in dealing with our emotions, we are left on our own to grapple with the ups and downs of life.
    For the past several months we have been bombarded with information and situations that are challenging our emotions. None of us have been unaffected by the racial unrest, the political division, the economic challenges, and our personal and governmental reaction to COVID-19. Our families, our communities, our nation and even our churches are experiencing emotional turmoil.
    The good news amidst all this bad news is that none of this is taking God by surprise, and, if we choose, we can depend on Him for help in sorting all of this out. This is not the first time people have been distressed, confused and brokenhearted, nor is it likely the last. No matter how many times it has happened or will happen, God always holds out his heart and hands to offer us help, even with our emotional responses to these things. Events in life may break our hearts and crush our spirits, but there is never a reason for despair. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all … fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Psalm 34.17-19; Isaiah 41.10). Fear not; troubled emotions are one of God’s specialties.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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