Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I had a conversation with a Christian whose life seemed to be tending toward depression and whose attitude seemed to be souring toward their marriage. In the conversation they said this statement, “But Pastor, I just don’t feel the same about things like I used to.” I responded back that YOUR FEELINGS HAVE CHANGED BECAUSE YOUR THOUGHTS HAVE CHANGED. OUR FEELINGS FOLLOW OUR THOUGHTS. You would have thought I physically punched them in the stomach by their reaction and the face they made. The truth is that they had allowed a wrong thought to vex them and the devil was working overtime to get them to swallow more of his lies in the thought realm.
The truth is our emotions are a product of our thoughts. We can’t have an emotion without a thought so if we learn to control our thoughts our feelings or emotions will follow. If we aren’t thinking right it will show up in our emotions. Our emotions are like indicators of what is going on in our souls (the seat of our mind, will, and emotions). They are a built in feedback mechanism (Psalm 42:5, 11). What pain is to our physical body (an indicator) our emotions are to what is going on in our soul. Have you ever noticed that the Scriptures say very little about controlling our emotions but they speak about controlling our thoughts.
If what we think doesn’t reflect reality, what we feel will not reflect reality either and our emotions will be controlled by a wrong thought. Do you remember the story about Joseph after his brothers had thrown him into a pit and then instead of killing him sold him to the Ishmaelites, who sold him to the Midianites, who sold him to Pharaoh (Genesis 37). Needless to say Joseph is still alive. His brothers though, took his coat with animal blood all over it to give to his father Jacob.
Genesis 37:31-36 says, “And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. 33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. 34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.”
What they told Jacob was not the truth or reality. Jacob got upset emotionally because of the thoughts presented to him about his son Joseph to the point he ripped his clothes, refused to be comforted, and pictured his present and future life as one of mourning until he went to his grave. His feelings were very real and overwhelming but they were not based on the truth. His painful emotions took him somewhere he didn’t need to go and I’m sure consumed much of his time and many of his days because the truth didn’t come out until years later.
We should examine how we feel and not ignore our emotional pain but we should see where it is taking us. Is it taking us toward the will and plan of God or away from it? When emotions dominate us from wrong thinking they will lead away from the will of God for our life. When we take control of your thoughts by lining them up to the Word of God, our emotions will fall in line with our thinking and take us toward the will of God for our life 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. We can master our emotions and not let them master us.