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Emotions: The Engine or the Caboose

When our emotions are raging or weeping or ecstatic we are to humble ourselves before God. That humbling is putting our emotions in the correct perspective. “Therefore humble yourselves, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Are your letting your emotions be the engine or the caboose?

If we allow our emotions to be our train engine, then our reactions and decisions will be born out of the emotion of the moment, not Godly truth and counsel. Emotions are not wrong. God had emotions and we are made in His image. But how we handle our emotions will separate us from the immature. Satan has overcome many a Christian through the wrong placement of emotions.

A mature Christian always lays his/her emotions before the truth of God’s word and chooses to stand on that truth. My emotions were locked away for many years. Before I could allow God to have my whole heart, I had to let the walls down around my heart so that He could get to it. Then I was able to let Him heal and claim the emotions of my heart as well as my will. I was able to do this based on God’s truth: “He cares for you.” I had read enough Scripture, had been in His presence, and had seen Him work in my life enough to know that I could trust God with my whole my heart including the painful emotions of the past. I chose to let God’s truth be my engine and my emotions be the caboose. When I acted upon God’s truth, the emotions got in line and I was able to experience joy.

When I want to follow my emotions now, I first seek God’s truth. Then, as I stand on that truth, He brings my emotions into line. Oh yeah, I can still be emotional, but my emotions are the caboose of God’s truth, not the engine. This keeps them in perspective. Even if I don’t feel like praising, God is still worthy of praise. As I begin to praise, my emotions come along and finally I am singing with a whole heart before my King.

My grandson, Nolan, just found out he was getting another shot. His emotions hit. He could cry or tough it out. He chose to cry. (He is only 2!)

Hint of the Day: Some kids need help naming and recognizing emotions. You can show them a page of cartoon faces showing different emotions and ask them to point out how they are feeling.  Or you can show them the page and have them try to put the emotion with the face. (See resources at https://www.abidingtruthministry.com/conference-notes-2/ under Kids and Emotions.) We also act out emotions at an unemotional time pretending that we are mad, angry, scared, happy, excited, etc.  This will make them more comfortable with their emotions and make them better writers someday! Also, don’t be afraid to show raw emotion around your children. Just explain to them that that was how you were feeling, but that God’s word says that we can turn every emotion over to Him for He cares for us. After they have prayed with you and put it into God’s hands, they can decide how they will choose to act in the same circumstance. For instance, their friend hurts them and they are angry. The Bible says, “Be angry, but sin not.” They may stomp and storm and say, “I am so angry.”  But then let the kids see you pray for their friend, buy their friend a gift, and make up with that friend. This will give them a role model to follow when they are angry rather than stuffing the feelings or acting out the emotion. 

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