Yesterday riding in the van, I read more news on my iPad than usual and the result was a depressed and sad state of feeling emotionally. As I recognized where I was I made some changes, and by the time we reached our camping site I was feeling much better.
We all are in a state of being all the time, a general sense of feeling or an emotional state that influences how we think, talk, and act. Sometimes we feel up and happy, sometimes we are depressed, blue, or sad, and sometimes we feel generally grumpy. It is almost always the events and circumstances in our lives that have the most influence on our emotional state of being. Sometimes it is other people’s treatment of us that shapes our state, other times it can be how we are feeling physically because of tiredness or sickness, and a biggy is the trials and unexpected crises that come into our lives.
There are 2 basic disciplines that mature people practice in their lives in order to control their emotions. The first is, “I can’t control the circumstances of my life, but I can control how I think about the events that occur in my life”. We all understand that our emotions will be automatic following an event, but we can move the needle by choosing and controlling our predominant thoughts following the event. The Bible commands us not to be anxious, not to fear, and not to fret, so we must be able to obey those commands. In the context of those commands is the statement, “God is with us”, “He hears us”, He cares about us”, and “He controls our life”. So choosing to set our minds on God, on His promises, and talking to Him about our life and asking for His help results in His peace, His joy, strength, and sense of confidence and self worth. The simple thought, “I know You are with me, Lord, I trust You that You are causing all things to work together for good in my life, help me now”, will result in a positive lifting of our emotional state.
The second discipline is choosing to act and talk responsibly in spite of how we feel. “You don’t have to act the way you feel”. If we choose to act right we will soon feel much better, we control our emotions by choosing to obey, and by being in charge of ourselves.Way back in the book of Genesis God gave this principle to Cain, but he didn’t get it.
“So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Prolonged periods of a negative emotional state gives the devil much greater opportunities to influence and control us increasing the probability of wrong actions resulting in our emotions moving even lower on the scale.
Ephesians 4:26-27 BE angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
A key discipline for me to be successful in this area of my life is memorizing Bible verses that I can choose to set my mind on, and meditate on. God’s Word is living, supernatural, and powerful in controlling my emotions, and motivating me to right actions.