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Feelings are a part of everyone’s lives, but as believers, we do not have to be dominated by them. It is God’s will that we control our emotions and achieve emotional stability. We have been given authority in every realm and we have the power to defeat negative emotions, including depression; therefore, we are accountable for the way we feel. This is something we need to know, so that when our feelings threaten to sweep us away, we can resist the urge. Our emotions can either move us closer to, or away from, God’s will for us. They actually control the direction of our lives. Knowing what the Word says about our feelings allows us to master life instead of letting life master us.
A. When we are thinking correctly, trouble does not have the power to make us worried.
1. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth(3 John 1:2).
a. Another word for prosperity is “wholeness.” God wants us to be complete and whole, with nothing missing and nothing broken.
2. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace(Romans 8:6).
a. Regardless of how long we have been saved, the inability to control our emotions reveals that we are still spiritually immature Christians.
b. We must not think it strange when trouble shows up to derail our emotions.
c. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).
d. Jesus has already handled whatever situation we are going through.
e. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
f. A carnal mind is dominated by the five senses; a spiritual mind is only possible through the Word of God.
g. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).
3. Depression can be viewed from three different perspectives.
a. It is a result of external pressures in our lives getting inside our hearts and weighing us down.
b. It is stress and pressure internalized. At this point, we are constantly thinking about the issue.
c. It is feelings that come from thinking thoughts that weigh us down.
B. Godly wisdom shows us how our relationships with others can affect our emotions.
1. Depression is a demonic spirit. Therapists and psychologists can only help us manage depression; the Word of God teaches us how to completely banish it from our lives.
a. Whatever or whoever we expose ourselves to affects what we think about, and what we think about affects how we feel. How we feel determines our decisions; we should not make decisions based on negative feelings. This is because negative decisions lead to negative actions. Those actions create habits, and those habits create our character that brings us to our destination.
2. Other people can have a tremendous influence on us.
a. We must value ourselves enough to disconnect from negative “friendships.” If those relationships cost us our peace, they are too expensive to maintain. We must not spend our peace on someone else’s drama.
3. The three types of relationships are “outer court,” “inner court,” and “holy of holies.” Not everyone should be allowed behind the veil.
a. “Outer court” people are casual acquaintances that we may know superficially.
b. “Inner court” people are individuals with whom we have a casual friendship and socialize with occasionally.
c. “Holy of holies” people are those we open ourselves up to and share our most personal feelings with. We drop all acts and pretenses, and show our true selves to them.
C. Emphasizing our relationship with God more than with other people brings us peace.
1. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you(1 Peter 5:7).
a. If a thought is weighing us down, we must simply let it go.
b. This applies to everyone; we allhave had cares at one time or another.
c. God tells us to give our cares to Him because He loves us. Once we do so and the care later tries to re-assert itself, we must refuse to carry it. We should do this as often as necessary.
d. When we have negative thoughts and feelings, we must replace them with the Word of God.
2. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee(Hebrews 13:5).
a. “Conversation” in this context refers to our lifestyle. Our lifestyle must be free of the greed and idolatry that puts money or other things before God.
b. Life is the sum total of relationships, not the material things we collect.
c. But godliness with contentment is great gain(1 Timothy 6:6).
d. It is hard for us to be content when we compare ourselves to others.
e. What we have will never seem to be enough when we are overly concerned with measuring what we have against what others have. Only when we consider our vertical relationship with Christ instead of our horizontal relationships with others will we realize that what we have in Him is always more than enough.
3. Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!](Hebrews 13:5, AMPC).
a. “Love of money” is when we trust it more than God.
b. We have God’s eternal and unchanging promise that He will always stick by us, no matter what happens.
D. We can change our way of thinking by taking authority over worry and anxiety.
1. 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. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you(Philippians 4:8, 9).
a. Our thought lives are extremely important. They determine what kind of person we are.
b. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…(Proverbs 23:7).
c. Depression is a way of thinking.
2. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?(Matthew 6:25-31).
a. We have authority over our thoughts; we can be custodians maintaining the way we think.
b. We should not have anxiety over the basic needs of life.
c. Worry is actually meditation on negative thoughts.
d. “Little faith” does not mean tiny faith; it means faith that is not kept out in the field doing its job until we see physical, tangible results. We need consistent faith, even when the circumstances are bad.
e. We “take” a thought by saying it. Verbalizing it gives it life.