Your emotions are not in charge of you. We’ve been brought to believe that whatever emotion you feel at any given point is the emotion which you must give way to. Emotions aren’t just something that happens to you. This line of thinking needs a bucket of bleach poured on top of it, followed by a flame thrower. Ok, maybe a bit over the top. But not by much.
Our emotions are unwieldy things when left undisciplined. They can burst out with violent heat at the simplest provocation. They can pop with sudden streams of tears at the least setback. They can ooze out onto others like toxic sludge, due to storing them in porous containing units. Every profanity an angry father shouts, every tearful outburst of a moody teenager, every cranky snarl from a lazy wife are all the result of thinking that emotions just happen to us and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
But Scripture teaches there is something to be done. It isn’t to become stoic robots void of any feelings. We were made to feel. Our passions however, need to learn to behave. The only way for them to do so is if they are led by the hand of faith.
As you set your affection on things above, faith takes your joys and sorrows, griefs and angers, and tells them, “This way little ones.” Your emotions need to be thought of as the cargo of the train, not the engine. When faith, governed by God’s Word of promise, takes hold on your emotions you don’t find them numbed, but strengthen, sharpened, and sweetened. Your joy bursts forth over righteous glories. Anger burns hotter over injustices. Calmness settles over every turmoil. Sorrow and grief are dear servants and not tormentors. Faith takes your feelings and makes them truly live.
Prayer of Confession
Our emotions have governed us, when we are instructed to govern our emotions in accordance with our faith in You. You teach us what to desire and delight in. You promise us that sorrows will only last for a night. You kindle righteous anger in us. Forgive us for letting our unrighteous anger scald others, often those closest to us. Forgive us for turning into puddles of inconsolable sobbing, thinking that tears alone will nourish a robust faith and life. Forgive us for feeling deeply about things that are fleeting, while being numb and indifferent toward Your Word and those in need of the grace of the Gospel. For all these ways and more, forgive us for our unruly emotions, and grant us grace to rule over them, with Your character and nature as the bit & bridle on every last one of our emotions. In Jesus name, Amen.