• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • March 2016
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A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Proverbs 25:28 ESV)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV)

Emotions are a part of human life. They may change because of changing circumstances or the conscious decisions we make, but often it may seem that our feelings have a mind of their own. In any given situation (good or bad) if we are not consciously making rational decisions about what is happening around us, our subconscious emotions may quickly fill the gap. Sometimes the results are not pretty.

Human beings have a wide range of complicated emotions: love – hate, fear – courage, forgiveness – unforgiveness, anxiety – peace, jealousy – goodwill, anger – delight, and many others. Our control of our emotions is vital to the quality of our spiritual lives as Christians. Colossians 3:1-12 guides us through the process of putting off the old man whose emotions are controlled by evil passions and desires. It then describes putting on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of God Who created him. Only when we are controlled by the Holy Spirit do we find our spiritual gifts to be effective and ourselves to be useful servants of God. Keep in mind that self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

Very intense emotions blind us to the future and con us that now is all that matters. In fact, when we are incredibly angry or anxious, we can even momentarily forget that there is even going to be a future. … We need some emotion to motivate us, but it needs to be the right emotion at the right time applied in the right way. (Mark Tyrrell)

Many people live more by their feelings than anything else. Too many people make huge blunders and fall into sin as a result of relying on their emotions rather than trusting in God’s Word. God gave us emotions in order that we might love Him, be inspired by His creation, love and care for others among many other positive feelings. God gave us emotions to serve us and His purpose; not to rule over us. However, Satan seeks to corrupt those feelings in order to manipulate us to drift further and further from God.

Making gospel progress begins with spiritual rebirth and continues with the pursuit of holiness (progressive sanctification) in our lives. As we consistently read the Holy Scriptures, praying for wisdom and understanding, the Holy Spirit helps us to grow in godly self-control and sanctifies our emotions. The Holy Spirit enables us to control irrational or sinful emotions through reading the Bible and prayer. John Piper writes:

My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth. (John Piper)

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