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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by emotions that suddenly washed over you? Feelings are a gift from God, but we have to keep them in check. Our emotional state is often influenced by outside factors such as what we see and hear. With that in mind, we must think of our eyes and ears as the guardians of our minds, and carefully filter what passes through them.
There are plenty of negative things to see and hear that compete for our attention. Focusing too much on them can bring on negative emotions we don’t need. Random thoughts can flit in and out of our heads all day long, but we can choose which ones to dwell on, and which ones to reject. Our thinking controls our emotions, and studying the Bible on this topic eventually brings our thoughts into alignment with the word of God. “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” (Philippians 4:8).
Being ruled by our emotions can cause us to be impulsive and make bad choices. Adam and Eve were ruled by their emotions when they saw the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and their decision to act on the way they felt had longstanding consequences. There are consequences for everything we choose to do, and we cause emotional pain for ourselves and others if we let negative feelings cause us to make a mistake. “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel” (Proverbs 15:18, NIV). Losing our temper never helps the situation, but maintaining emotional control gives us real power.
Acting out of fear is also not in our best interest. When situations spiral out of control, we can panic if we depend solely on ourselves to handle the problem; but people who trust God find an inner strength that’s not their own. This strength gives them peace of mind and keeps their emotions from taking over. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Depression and anxiety rob us of the joy God intends for us to experience in our lives. He wants the best for us, and these feelings are not his will for us! When these emotions attack us, it’s important to keep moving forward and not allow them to paralyze us. We can also talk to God in prayer while we’re in the midst of them.
Negative, harmful, and painful emotions are often accompanied by a sense of powerlessness. We may feel trapped by the way we are and think we’re unable to change. However, we have God-given authority over our emotions, and we don’t have to be led by the ones the devil sends to hurt us. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). Power comes from our total belief in this verse.
If we don’t learn how to master our emotions, they’ll master us; but God gives us the key to handling them. Self-control, also defined as temperance, is a godly force designed to direct our lives where God wants them to go. “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:23). With his help, we can take control of our emotions.