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What the Bible says about Controlling Emotions
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Galatians 6:9

"Hope deferred," the proverb says, "makes the heart sick." Devotion to Christianity is not easy in this world because the pull to just slide is constantly present, and the Galatians were losing their attentiveness. A synonym for devotion is "attentiveness," and these people were becoming inattentive in their devotion to Christ.

They had lost sight of the real goal and entirely neglected what Christ was doing for them on a daily basis. He had not lost His attentiveness to them. Because they had allowed themselves to drift, they were not aware what Christ was doing for them out of His love for them.

If we can think of this in a human sense, it was as if He were being spurned, where one of the two parties involved in a loving relationship is doing all the good things and the other is passive. So, there was Christ, making the effort through His apostles—through the church and His ministry by means of the Spirit—to stir them up, but they were not paying a great deal of attention.

How quickly they forgot that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5)! If they were going to have any spiritual growth and reward, it would be through their relationship with Christ. Yet, they were forgetting that their supply of the Spirit, as it were, was coming from Him. He is the main trunk of the tree—He is the vine, we are the branches—and so the relationship is all-important.

Daily, He prepares us for the Kingdom. "I go and prepare a place for you," He says in John 14:2. He is working with us on a daily basis, forgiving us, leading us, being patient with us, and providing for us. However, the Galatians were instead looking longingly at the world for gratification and relief.

If a person feels that his affections are abused by the one he loves, it impairs his power to grow because people tend to follow the lead of their emotions. Human beings are very emotional creatures. These Galatians felt that, because He had not returned according to their expectations, and because Christ and the Father had allowed them to go through persecutions—both economic and social—they were being neglected. They were feeling as though their affections for Christ were being abused. They thus allowed themselves to follow the lead of their emotions.

It is a principle that what we like to do, we gradually become. We then set our wills to do what we like to do. We must be very careful about what we set our emotions upon.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ

Colossians 3:5-8

What we fear to do is to suffer the pangs of self-denial. We fear putting to death our flesh that is demanding satisfaction. But the truth is that we are dealing with the most troublesome aspect of our humanity. It is pride demanding its due. That is what we do not want to face because, in submitting to God, we are denying what pride is demanding, that we stand up for ourselves.

Do you understand that it is pride within us that wants to be god? It loves being praised and being coddled. It quickly puffs up with angry judgment over the real or perceived wrongs of others while being oblivious to its own. It is almost like a living, breathing something, a form within us unlike that of any other creature. It can be fed, or it can be starved. When fed, it grows. When it is starved, it diminishes and dies daily.

Pride starves and diminishes when we choose to submit to God's Word in obedience. But it is going to put up a strong defense of itself through the fear of being denied. It wants satisfaction. "You shall be as gods," the serpent told Eve. God made the serpent say exactly what was happening. Pride in Adam and Eve exalted itself over God, and made them god by changing the standard to satisfy themselves when they saw that the fruit was attractive. They did not deny their flesh.

Whether the challenges arise in what we permit ourselves to eat or to drink, how much we permit ourselves to eat, the control of the tongue, directing the temper, or whether we choose to be kind or sarcastic or cynical or hopeful and encouraging, the test to control our fear of humbling ourselves exists. That is where the battle is being waged.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Does Doctrine Really Matter? (Part Four)


 




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