So we have made this choice, to follow Him and to deny ourselves. This includes denying our emotions from controlling us. Not denying our emotions so we are emotionless or unfeeling. If we are unfeeling then how will we ever be able to feel or be moved with compassion for another human?
My friend, whom I love dearly, is one of those people that doesn’t show her emotions. Most of the time, she is so analytical about her wounds and grievances (as she has quite a few right now) that she doesn’t feel them. But instead she bottles them up and when they explode she cannot stop it. It’s like an atom bomb of emotions that control everything – whether she is able to go to work, minister, enjoy life with her family.
Now me, every emotion I feel comes across right across my face. If you ever want to know how I feel just look at my face. I can’t help it. I am unable to bottle it because when I do, I personally become a very hard person. However, when my strong negative emotions – such as frustration, impatience, or anger – come out I do it in a way that is at Jesus’ feet and does not control my natural environment.
The only way I have been able to do that is to recognize the difference between what is my carnality coming out versus the passion that is God-given and fought for. This past week, something happened that caused my carnality rear its ugly pimply head in my heart and I was becoming overwhelmed by it. I’m getting ready for work crying, putting my makeup on like three times – in case you didn’t know, putting make-up on while you’re crying is probably one of the most futile things to do. The whole time, this past lesson was going through my head and eventually after I stopped getting angry with the Holy Spirit for convicting me, I was able to lay it at Jesus’ feet and get to work and be the bubbly person they have come to expect.
You may think me a heathen for getting angry that I was being convicted, but I know you have done it too. “Jesus, I know I’m being stupid and I don’t have to act like this but I’m not ready to stop acting like a child.” I Corinthians 13:11 tells us that as we age we stop acting like children. So are you a child acting like a child, requiring spiritual milk or are you a maturing Jesus follower who is now acting and thinking Godly thoughts? And acting the way that pleases our Heavenly Father?
What are the ways of children? Temper tantrums, crying all the time, getting angry, frustrated when things don’t go their way, thinking everything revolves around them, – let’s take a look at what Scripture tells us are the ways of children/lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:16-26
God is telling us what He doesn’t like. I like how it is put “the flesh and its passions” are to be put on the cross. But do you know what we pick up when we put our fleshly passion aside??? We get the fullness of joy from God our Father! We get and understand Jesus’ passion and then we can effectively move forward as God wills. That’s revolutionary to me – when you put down your selfish ambitions, hatred, greed, envy, basically an unwelcome tempest of negative emotions, we get to pick up the gifts of the Spirit.
These are fruits which must be grown – you don’t plant a perfectly good pear. You eat it and then plant the seed. We pick up the seeds of the Spirit by putting down the full grown fruits of the flesh. These fruits are rotten, gross, not fulfilling, and addictive to a point of control. While the fruits of the Spirit are ripe, good for eating, healthy, filling, and addictive to the point of growth in Christ.
I’ve been studying the Daniel Plan and they say (and I can attest) to when you get rid of the man-made foods and enjoy God-made foods you stop craving the old and begin to crave that which was meant for your body. Then as a result, you have more energy, you feel better, you think more clearly, your soul controls your body not your body controlling your movements.
If it applies to the physical, it applies to the spiritual and vice versa. I was talking with a friend a couple weeks ago at dance and he said “I can see my blood vessels.” Being science-minded I was intrigued and asked him what he meant. He began to explain all the anatomy behind it and it clicked in my head and I said “that makes sense!” He astounded me with his simple and yet profound statement “God doesn’t make things that don’t make sense. Everything He makes has order and make sense.”
So when we start to feel these negative emotions, we have to take it to God before they consume you and control your life. At the WOW meeting, Stephanie talked about how those who do things through God’s power not their own bring everything, every situation to God. When we begin to feel those childish behaviors start to rise, go and orient your Spirit at Jesus’ feet. Tell Him exactly what you’re feeling – Jesus did and there was no sin found in Him. There is no sin in going to Christ and saying “My emotions are getting in the way. I want to do your will and love people but Lord they are frustrating me. Grant me grace and patience to get through this current situation without tainting your Word, your testimony, your Name.” Jesus went to the Father saying, if it all possible take this from me but nevertheless let your will be done. In Him, Jesus, there was no sin so therefore it is not a sin to go to God with your ugly feelings. He already knows they are there, there is no sense in hiding them from Him and showing them to everyone else. Why not show them to God and hide them from others so that God can deal with them?
Don’t get upset when other people are airing out your dirty laundry if you’re doing it yourself. Go give it God and He will clean it, dry, fold it all pretty, and give it back to you as a white robe of righteousness and not the dirty rags you gave Him. When you give Him those emotions, you can then use that history as fuel for your passion. The emotions that are manifested by the fruits of the Spirit you already use those. But take the memory of how you were angry, frustrated, envious of your peers, couldn’t break free of your chains, selfish ambitions, anything that had kept you bound that was addictively controlling your life – use the memory of how God has moved you to where you are now manifesting fruits of the Spirit to passionately pursue Him so you never return.