Emotions are God’s creation. They are part of who we are as creatures who were made in his image. We see something of emotional joy and excitement in the very first couple, when Adam first set eyes on Eve and exclaimed, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,” etc.
Christ, in his earthly life, demonstrates the beauty and place of human emotion. He wept and was considered the ‘Man of Sorrows.’ He reclined at table and attended festivals, which implies that he laughed and was merry. He delighted to do God’s will and displayed righteous anger as he confronted the irreligious practices of his day.
In the fall our emotions became subject to sin and misery. God’s curse would produce in man sorrow and sin resulted in a new range of feelings: sadness, anger, despair, loneliness, etc.
Part of the corruption is that we begin to follow our emotions, rather than God’s word. Just as Eve found delight in the fruit and ate of it, we can let our feelings be the guide of our behavior instead of God's word.
Part of our redemption is having our emotions conform to Christ and being subject to God’s will. Part of our sanctification is taking control of our emotions and dictating how they operate.
We are not to follow our feelings or let our emotions dictate our actions. Instead, we are commanded to put our hope in God (Psalm 130), rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4), grieve over sin (James 4:9), be righteously angry, and not let our anger cause us to fall into sin (Eph. 4:26), etc.
At the same time we should recognize that emotions can be indications of a deeper problems in our lives; issues of sin and misbehavior.
For instance, a depressed person is one who has excessive sadness or emotionally low. It may be that they lack joy and vibrancy because they have acted (or reacted) wrongly in some situation. They become melancholy because they are not living the way God would have them. Their sullen state, in this case, is evidence that they need deeper change or redemption.
Another example may be anger. Anger is usually an evidence of deeper issues of selfishness or self-centeredness. One becomes enraged because they do not get what they want or they lack control.
To be sure, there can be expressions of righteous anger. But in many cases, the emotion of anger, is representative of a heart that is out of align with God.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.