I find it very reassuring to know that there is a living God, who is all around us and is jealous for us; who is actively compassionate and if we choose to initiate relationship with Him He will prove Himself to be faithful friend that will guide us to live a better life. Yet at times I find myself not reassured, but confused, concerned, sad, mad, or conflicted. These emotions can be powerful drivers of both thought and behavior.
I wonder if have a tendency to spend far to much time talking, thinking, ruminating aka meditating on our own emotions. And if so, is this yet another form of Me-ism? Emotions are only a symptom but they are a reflection or the mirror into our soul. We are a people of great emotion. God did create mankind to experience emotions, but as a Follower of Christ, it is important to bring our emotions under the control of God.
In previous blogs, there have been discussions about the natural, carnal or worldly Christian of whom Paul discussed in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. Spirit controlled Christians also have strong emotions, but they have learned to master their emotions by controlling their responses to their emotions instead of letting their emotions control their responses. A spiritual Christian learns more and more to rely on the Holy Spirit instead of the flesh. Galatians 5: 22-25 encourages, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk”.
But how does one do this? How can I let God’s spirit rule my heart, mind, will and emotions so that I do rejoice in Him? For me, it all goes back, at least indirectly to emotions. Emotions are responses to our values and beliefs and over the years, our emotional responses have been either affirmed and/or challenged. We have learned through experience that interactions with others and circumstances cause happiness, fear, angst etc.
When my computer starts to act out, when the software seems to take control as if it has a mind of its own or just becomes stubborn and won’t function the way it was designed, my IT friend usually steps in with a sermon about rebooting. “Reboot the program and/or computer and allow it to start over after it recalibrates to its original functions and intentions.” I think for me to break this cycle of emotional disinformation, I must reboot. Just as a computer needs to be turned off periodically to recalibrate, our perception which is biased by the way, must also be recalibrated. In the bible, rebooting is transformation. Only God’s spirit can transform our hearts, minds, will and emotion.
I once did an 8 week bible study series on Transformation and it was very helpful but today’s blog is already far too long… so suffice it to say, a transformed Believer is one who is being transformed (present passive imperative-an ongoing act by the renewing of the mind), constantly recalibrated, into Christlikeness so that all thoughts and behaviors are like Christ in all ways. Romans 12:2 advocates, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorpho) by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”.
So, I must reboot, recalibrate. I must allow the Master Engineer to tweak and adjust. I must ask God to transform my heart, mind, will and emotions. God can turn my sadness to gladness and then I will rejoice in Him.