Controlling our emotions

Psalm 126:3 “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

Do you realize that joy should be the prevailing emotion of a Christian?  In fact, we have actually been commanded by God to rejoice, per the words from Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.”  Like all other commands in God’s Word, we have a choice as to whether we obey that command, or not.  In other words, rejoicing is a choice.  The Christian, then, rather than being a person who is controlled by his or her uncontrollable emotions, is a person whose emotional state is something that he or she has God’s supernatural power to control. 

But how does one manage to control their own emotions? So often it seems that emotions are things that just happen to us, almost inexplicably.  Something happens and we react, and typically that reaction is first and foremost an emotional reaction.  Someone dies, and we grieve.  The Eagles win the Super Bowl, and if we are an Eagles fan, we rejoice.  On the other hand, if our team loses, we are saddened. Someone pulls out in front of us as they run a red light and depending on how close the call, we may react with either anger, fear, or relief.  However, for the believer, although the initial emotional gut reactions to events in our lives may be almost uncontrollable, whether or not we remain in that emotional condition, especially if it is a negative one, is a choice. 

So how do we actually make such choices?  The Bible is clear, it is by choosing the things we think about and dwell on in our minds.  In Psalm 126 above the psalmist declares, “the Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”  So, that was what the psalmist said, but can we say the same thing?  Has the Lord done great things for us, things that should cause us to be filled with joy?  Certainly, if one is a Christian, he or she can respond to that question with, “of course He has.”  Just think of it.  He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves (Colossians 1:13).  He has forgiven us all our sins and saved us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  He has promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19), and more that that He has made us joint-heirs with Christ of everything Christ possesses (Romans 8:17). He has told us that all things in our lives will work together for good (Romans 8:28).  And He has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  He has promised us that He is ever present with us in times of trouble and that He will surely help us in such times (Psalm 46:1).  And He has rescued us from the fear of death, for we know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord for all eternity (2 Corinthians 5:8). 

Surely, God has filled His Word with many other tremendous promises and He has commanded us to think about such things (Philippians 4:8).  We are commanded to think about such wonderful things, because each and every one of these things is true, and the inevitable result of such thinking is peace and joy.  You see, it’s not just a man-made manufactured joy based on optimistic thinking that the Bible is talking about. It’s a supernatural joy based and rooted in our supernatural God.  It’s the “joy of the LORD” that is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10), and there is no greater joy in all the world, for it’s a joy that comes to us from Heaven and particularly, from the God of Heaven. It is at its heart, simply a fruit of knowing Him and being filled with His Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

What an awesome thing this is. May God help us to obey His wonderful command to be joyful always as we set our minds on the wonders of His being and the truth of His Words.

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