Now that we’ve had time to ponder the fact that God commands our emotions, here’s a little bit more from a learned man on this same topic, just in case you weren’t convinced by little ole me:
And since Brian Borgman does such a phenomenal job explaining this point, I’m simply going to quote him for most of this post with brief thoughts in parentheses from me. From Feelings and Faith, pgs 61-62:
Earlier I quoted an evangelical Bible teacher who said, “As a saved person, you can control your mind and your will, but not your feelings. God’s plan is for us to believe Him and choose to submit ourselves to His loving care and authority regardless of how we feel. All together now, Rain on how I feel!” (This statement gives us little hope about our sinful emotions and is not biblical in the least. The author of this sad quote is Bill Gilham in Lifetime Guarantee pg. 149.) It is common to hear such sentiments expressed one way or another about the emotions. The assumption often is, “They cannot be changed or governed; therefore, God cannot tell us how we should feel”…Others categorize the emotions under temperament, personality type, or ethnicity. Once categorized, the emotions are then explained as “high D,” introverted, bubbly, a fluffy puppy, choleric, Dutch, Irish, Italian, ad infinitum. Once we categorize certain emotional behaviors, we have put them into a special protective vault. The categorization effectively puts the emotions beyond the reach of sanctification and the biblical imperatives that would require change. I am not denying certain personality characteristics, but no classification of certain emotions and behaviors makes them exempt from the authority of God’s Word…A careful reader of the Bible will conclude as indefensible any view that says, “The emotions are off limits.” Unless we are going to become lexical reconstructionists and change the semantic range and meanings of words, we must acknowledge that just as God authoritatively commands our moral decisions, he also authoritatively commands our emotions. God tells us how and what we should and should not feel. Our emotions are a part of our humanity that needs to be sanctified and brought under the authority of God’s Word and into conformity with God’s Word. (See scripture references in the previous post for examples of this.)
The redemptive process is for the whole person; the emotions are an inherent part of what it means to be a person. There are sinful emotional expressions that need to be repented of and put to death. (Worry, Anxiety, and Sinful Fear to name a few.) There are Christlike emotions that need to be brought to life and cultivated. (Like Joy, Love, Tenderheartedness and more.) As we grow in grace, our emotions will increasingly reflect our new biblical values and evaluations. As godly emotions are cultivated, they will exert a powerful influence on our motives and our conduct.
John Piper has accurately pointed out that the Bible commands all kinds of emotions.
Friends, this gives me such hope to realize that God cares about my emotional state, commands what to do with my emotions and hopefully, next time, we’ll see how to begin obeying His loving commands concerning our emotions and thus, become more like our beloved Christ.
Enjoying this lovely icy, cold, gray day in the Lord with you.