But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20
An After Dinner discussion…
These children would be better off if we just let them die and then they would go right to heaven.”
The children being referred to were those who live in extreme poverty around the world. Expounding upon his thought the talker continued, “Same with abortion…aren’t these babies going to Heaven? Why should we interfere with that?”
Stunned by the remark my eyes rolled back and closed. Simultaneously my head flopped back into the sofa. Then, in less than a second’s time, anger-provoked adrenalin surged up my spine. My neck stiffened, my eyes opened, and my tongue slipped out to moistening my lips, a signal to my brain that my mouth was clear for takeoff.
The Voice of Reason
Does God talk to you?
He talks to me.
I can’t explain it adequately, but He does. His voice doesn’t seem to be audible, but to say, “God speaks softly to my heart,” isn’t an accurate statement either. All I know is that He does speak and that He spoke to me on this occasion.
What did He tell me?
“Don’t say it.”
It was enough.
I knew what He meant. I didn’t argue with God. I exhaled silently so as not to sigh, I relaxed my neck, and sealed my lips.
Be angry, and do not sin. Ephesians 4:26
It was another reminder for me that emotions are God-given, and when used properly they serve to facilitate interaction with God through His Holy Spirit. In other words, ‘emotion always leads to choice, choice can lead to Jesus, and in Jesus we will have a solution.’ There is an alternative to anger and it is not merely to be un-angry, but to recognize the opportunity it brings to be submissive and obedient to the Holy Spirit.
And Not Only Anger
How many emotions are there? No one can say with certainty. A short list of emotions just starting with the letter A might include these:
When we perceive that emotions can be experienced concurrently, we begin to appreciate how the number of emotional combinations is incomprehensible. If you have you ever angrily or anxiously or amusingly anticipated something, you understand this. Well, know also that while our emotions are characteristically unique, they are common in their singular Divine purse: to bring us to Jesus.
And God never demands that we choose Jesus, but rather consistently affirms that He is the wisest choice.
No one acts on an emotion until they have chosen to act on it. Sometimes our reactions are so quick we suppose the action and the emotion are one and the same, but they’re not. Emotions are not actions until they have been fueled. Having said that, some of us do fuel our emotions before we experience them. This of course is foolishness. It’s like lighting the fuse before you’ve constructed the firecracker.
So, it begs the question, “What are you using to fuel your emotions, or more accurately, ‘Who’ are you using to fuel your emotions?”
God asks us too,
Are you angry? Are you amused? Are you able? Wonderful! Here is the choice that will bring Me honor, glory, and praise.”
All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:16b-18
Consider the Colossians passage.
- Does the phrase ‘all things’ include our emotions?
- Does Jesus have preeminence over our emotions?
- Who or what fuels your emotions?
- How’s that working out for you?
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