But for Cain and his offering He [God] had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it. Genesis 3:5-7 Amplified
In several places the Word of God draws a clear picture of our enemy. In one place he is described as a roaring lion on the prowl (1 Peter 5:8), another scripture shows how he is patient and relentless returning when the time is right (Luke 4:13), and yet another passage exhorts us to give him no place (Ephesians 4:27). Each passage describes a predator constantly looking for an entrance into your life. The above passage of scripture shows how the enemy is most successful by entering through our emotions.
Managing your emotions is paramount to your walk with Christ as well as your spiritual health and well-being. Emotions are probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of our human composition. God created us spirit, soul, and body (1Thesalonians 5:23). You are a spirit, you have a soul and you live in a body. Your soul is comprised of three things: your mind, will, and emotions. When it comes to your emotions, they are a part of you, but they are not the sum total of who you are. You have emotions like you have clothes. You can choose which one you want at will. You can change them or discard them altogether. If you don’t believe that I can introduce you to several people who have suffered so much pain that they have chosen to shut off their emotional valve altogether. Emotions were never meant to be denied, but to be acknowledged, embraced, and managed.
When we acknowledge emotions, we are acknowledging that there is something happening good on the inside. Our emotions are like signs. They are designed to be signals of what’s happening in you as it relates to what’s happening around you. For example anger tells you that the current situation is unacceptable. Frustration tells you that what you are doing is not working. Fear tells you that you either don’t know, and/or are not comfortable with the possible outcome.
Emotions are thought and behavior driven. You feel the way you feel as a result of your thinking or something that you or others did. Some emotions are warranted. For example, you may feel bad for a homeless person, or you may feel fear if someone looks like they are about to cause you harm. These thoughts and behaviors result in justified emotions. The problem occurs when our emotions are not justifiable and we let those emotions drive our behavior. When these irrational emotions drive our thoughts and actions it normally leads to impulsive behaviors, disconnected thinking, and dysfunctional life. Irrational emotions cause us to be depressed and isolate ourselves from our loved ones. They cause us to spend more than we have, eat more than we should, get in bed with strangers, and get away from our spouse.
In the above passage of scripture Cain experienced extreme emotions as a result of his behavior. God warns him to master those emotions because they are a door. On the other side of the door satan was waiting to enter in and introduce sin into Cain’s life. Instead of heeding God’s counsel, Cain did what he felt like doing and the rest is history.
What do you feel like doing that goes against the counsel of God? Know that if you submit to those feelings, you may be opening a door to a season of sin that will cost you far more than it’s worth. Here are a few tips that will help you properly manage emotions:
- Acknowledge and embrace your emotions immediately. Being able to express your feelings helps you identify the cause and gain control. You can pinpoint your emotions simply by asking yourself, “What am I feeling and why?” If you can pause and analyze your emotions you are already ahead of the game.
- Deny your emotions the right to dictate behavior. The bible says be angry, but sin not. (Eph.4:26) You don’t have to do what you feel like doing if it is counterproductive. If you change the way you think or what you do in spite of how you feel, usually your emotions will follow suit.
- Don’t give anyone permission to control your emotions. Allowing others to govern your happiness, anger or any other emotion is giving them way too much power. No matter how others behave, your response is your responsibility. Choose it wisely.
- Employ the help of the Holy Spirit to identify the root cause of irrational emotions. As Christians, the Holy Spirit is our trump card in any situation. His infinite wisdom is there for the asking. Quite often, irrational emotions are the result of deep wounds. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you. He is the counselor and He will draw it out if you let Him.
Take God’s advice and be aware of your emotions at all times. It is the first step to keep that door closed to the enemy.
Andrew Freed and you are an Overcomer in Christ. Visit his site at www.PersonalGrowthForChristians.com.
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