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Transforming our Emotions
Emotions by themselves aren't right or wrong, it is what we do with them that make them good or bad. We can work on finding the underlying causes of feelings that effect our life with God. These issues can be the red light on our dashboard telling us to pull over and find the problem.
In this section we will look at several areas where our emotions affect our spiritual life and growth.
Healing for our wounds
Unresolved hurts will most definitely keep us from a truly intimate relationship with God. Having worked as a counselor the past six years I have witnessed the Lord heal and bring freedom to very deeply hurting people. In the process of the healing they have discovered the deep love of Christ. Finding this type of emotional healing is in itself incredibly transforming.
This world hurts us and we do harm to ourselves as well. The sin done to us and the sin we have done comes between us and the Lord, but this does not have to be a permanent separation. It is available to remove this emotional barrier to a transformed life with God. If you are in need of healing I would strongly urge you to seek out a good Christian counselor who can help you.
Truth over lies
What we believe we live out, that is why it is so essential to discover the lies that have become part of our belief system and root them out with the truth. The lies we believe about ourselves, our world, and more importantly, our God effect our emotions and everything we do.
Christ said that the truth would set us free, so that means that lies are a form of bondage.
For example, if I believe that God is cold, distant, and uncaring then I will not seek Him when I am hurt, confused, or lonely. I will not know of His love, tenderness, power, and caring. If I examine this lie about His character, then I can find the origin of when and how I came to believe it. I can go to Scripture and see what He says about Himself and I can ask Him to speak that truth to the lie I have believed.
Another example might be if I were to believe that I have little worth. Again, Scripture will tell me that my value is the life of Christ Himself but deep inside myself I don't believe it. I can ask the Lord to take me to the beginnings of this belief about myself and to speak truth to that lie. When Truth Himself speaks to lies, they are destroyed.
If you find that you are having a difficult time believing what Scripture says about God, you, and this world then there are lies that need to be dealt with. A counselor would be helpful here as would a time of being with the Lord and asking Him to go to the very root of the lies and remove them.
What is forgiveness? That is a huge question for most people and carries a lot of misconceptions. Let's start with what it is not:
It is transference of a debt. When we owned our first home our mortgage company sold our mortgage. We had no say in the transaction, we were just sent a notification that we no longer owned the debt to our original mortgage holder. We now owed the debt to the new mortgage holder.
That is forgiveness. When we forgive we take the debt we are owed by another's actions or inactions against us and we transfer it to Christ. This means the person now owes us nothing but they do owe Christ. The person who owed us has no say in this transaction, it is fully our choice to transfer the debt.
Giving the debt to Christ does not let them off the hook for what they did. They now owe Him. Part of our giving over the debt to Christ is that we now have no say in how He will handle the debt. He very well take it to the cross and say that they now owe Him nothing. He may give them a consequence to help them to grow or He may hold that debt against them for eternity.
One of the reasons we don't give over these debts to Christ is that we want them to pay and suffer and hurt as we do. Our emotions our getting in the way of forgiveness. This is now something we need to take to the Lord.
Picture yourself at the foot of the cross and your offender right next to you. The ground there is level. You both have sinned and Christ had to take both of your sins to His death. He is dying for your sins. If this does not help you give the offenders debt over to Christ then it is time for you and Christ to talk about your heart.
Maybe there are some lies or misperceptions still there. The Lord will help you with these if you allow Him to. You might need to seek His forgiveness as well.
Just because we are Christian does not mean we have been exempt from addictions and other behaviors that cause problems in our lives. As a matter of fact, an unfortunate fact is that we have the same problems in much the same numbers as those who are not Christ-
All of us are in the process of recovery. We are recovering from our sin nature and it is our sin nature that Paul says causes us "to do what we don't want to do." There is no judgment necessary or justifiable here. We all have our weaknesses and problems, just some of ours are more noticeable that others.
What is needed here is not blame but Christ. He says that He came to set the captives free and we all seem to be captive in one way or another. The good news is that He IS sovereign over whatever has hold of us. It is in finding ourselves in Him that we gain the resources to find freedom. It is knowing and experiencing His love to the depths of our being that begins the change. His love is not condemning, shaming or discouraging. He always offers help and healing to those who seek Him. And He places the desire to help on the hearts of others who follow Him.
There is help out there. I have worked with various addictions and have not seen one person not healed who really wanted Christ to help. If you need help here, then seek it. If others want to judge you for your problems then that is sin and they can take it up with Christ. Don't let anyone else stop you from finding true freedom.
In another part of this site there is a whole section on relationships, so we won't go into much depth here, but because relationships cause us so many emotional problems we will touch on it.
In the beginning God said that it was not good to be alone. And then came the fall and sin. With the capacity to sin we not could cause each other incredible depths of pain. Most of what I deal with in counseling has to do with relationships. We are hurt and we hurt others.
In every relationship you have power available to you. You have the power to change yourself. Think of it this way, with every person you do a dance. It might be a different dance with each person you know but it is a dance. You act a certain way with them and they act a certain way with you -
When you change a dance you get your feet stepped on and you step on the others toes. Your emotions or theirs can be hurt. Your partner will either learn the new steps or stop dancing with you. Either way, if your relationship is dysfunctional or hurtful you win when it either ends or improves.
What you need to do is learn a new way to dance and it starts with your dance with the Lord. He is the One trying to change the dance with you and that is why you feel your toes stepped on. If you let Him lead you will find yourself in the dance of your life!
Start with your relationship with Christ. When you get that love relationship in order, I guarantee you that the rest of your relationship will change. Change can be difficult but this change is soooo worth it.
Our eternal point of view drastically affects our emotions.
If we are living as if this time on earth is all there is to life then death will terrify us and living will be pretty scary as well. If we don't have a deep understanding and relationship with Christ then eternity will frighten us too.
Living for this life alone I will focus on what I have or don't have, how I look or don't look and who has what. None of it matters.
This time on earth is the shortest part of our life. Remember geometry? A line starts with a single point and then extends out forever. That dot, that single point is our time here on earth. The line that goes on forever is where we are going. So, if we live for the dot rather than the eternal line it seems somewhat silly.
Examine where you are holding on to this earthly life. Oh, and did I mention that all of this, including your body and possessions, will not exist at all one day? To hold onto what won't last rather than take hold of what will is not the smartest decision we can make.
Think of your future life. No sin, no hurt, no problems, no bills, no teenagers acting up, no work problems, no one cutting you off in traffic, no aging, no worrying about fatty foods, no storms inside or out, no emotional problems, and the list goes on. What there will be is joy forever more.
Now when Christ came He brought eternity with Him. In Ephesians it says that you are already perfect, holy, glorified. Why does He speak in the past tense? Because God sees you already there. It is a done deal. You will look like Christ then and see Him face to face. God is not bogged down in time like us so you are already there with Him.
You could start living your eternal life today, just ask Christ to give you an eternal perspective and start to think eternal thoughts.
Faith if often considered to be an emotional topic, but faith is really a decision to believe what God says. This decision may bring emotions but should not be based upon them. It is both our decision and God's work in our hearts. As we seek Him and pray for more faith we are also reading Scripture, talking with Him daily, being with other Christ-
Emotions such as fear, worry, rage, lust, indifference, hatred, self-
If your faith seems weak you can seek Him. He promises to be found by those who seek Him with their whole hearts. This side of eternity we do not have the capacity to fully understand the full picture of our lives but we can choose to trust the One who holds eternity in His hand. That is faith.
Working with our emotions is just one part of our overall Christian life and spiritual growth. It is an area that we can use to find places to grow in our love in trust of God. Many times if our emotions are too much to handle we will need some outside assistance to find the cause. If you need such help, please seek it out. We need you healed and whole in the body of Christ.
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