“Put an end to your wrath and be no longer bitter; do not give way to angry feeling which is a cause of sin.” (Psalms 37:8 BBE).
God did not create you to be ruled, dominated, controlled, or driven by your unstable emotions or feelings. Therefore, it is foolishness to submit or surrender your life to negative emotions such as anger, sorrow, fear, worry, hatred, anxiety, bitterness, depression, or discouragement.
The Scripture describes anyone who expresses all his feelings gushily or effusively, without any control or restraint, as a fool.
The Scripture says: “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” (Prov. 29:11 NKJV).
“He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly.” (Prov. 14:29 NKJV).
If you don’t control your feelings, especially the negative one, you are simply acting as a fool!
In the first part of this piece we began to consider how to control negative emotions or feelings.
First, you must always hold yourself responsible for your negative emotions and never look for someone or something to blame for your anger, sadness, depression, fear, worry, or lust.
Second, you either take control or lose control over your negative emotions or feelings in your mind. Your mind is the control centre for your feelings. Your feelings flow along in the direction of your thoughts. Therefore, if you fail to renew your mind according to God’s Word, you will never be able to control or restrain your negative or wild emotions.
Third, unless you deny yourself, you cannot control or rule your emotions. It is your love for yourself that is responsible for your negative emotions. Every negative emotion is a subtle manifestation of self-life. When your mind or affection is set on yourself, you will never be able to control your negative emotions.
It is self that makes you feel sad, upset, bitter, or angry when you are taken for granted, despised, or not treated well. It is self that makes you feel worried, anxious, troubled, depressed, or discouraged when things are not going according to your personal plans or ways.
The Scripture commands you to “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philip. 4:4 NKJV). However, self will want you to only rejoice, feel good, happy, or excited when you are praised, celebrated, or acknowledged by people.
Jesus commanded you to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44 NKJV). However, self will want you to have and express hatred, bitterness, or anger towards anyone who hurts, betrays or maltreats you.
Therefore, you will always have to choose between walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh.
The Scripture admonishes in Galatians 5:
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (NKJV).
If you constantly yield, present or surrender yourself to the Holy Spirit, your emotions or feelings will be ruled, governed, influenced and driven by the Holy Spirit. But, if you choose to always gratify or fulfil the lusts, desires or passions of your flesh, you will always struggle with your negative emotions.
It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that you can control or overcome your negative emotions!
The Scripture warns, “If you live in obedience to your earthly nature, you will inevitably die; but if, by the power of the Spirit, you put an end to the evil habits of the body, you will live.” (Rom. 8:13 TCNT).
Negative emotions flow or emanate from self-centredness. Therefore, if you continue to allow self to reign in your life, your emotions will remain wild, unruly, violent, corrupt or negative. No one can overcome or control negative emotions without denying, forgetting, ignoring, or displeasing self.
While Jesus’ earthly ministry was drawing to completion, He began to disclose to His disciples how He would be unjustly tried, condemned and crucified on the cross. Jesus did not also hide from them His resurrection and ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father. But on hearing these things from the mouth of Jesus, His disciples became sorrowful, troubled, fearful and worried.
Their negative emotions and reactions to Jesus’ words were not a display of love for the Lord Jesus Christ, but a subtle expression of their love for themselves, their self-centredness. Jesus clearly pointed this out in His response to their negative emotions and reactions.
Jesus rebuked them, saying, “You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 NKJV).
From Jesus’ perspective, the worry, sadness or sorrow displayed by His disciples was only an expression of their love for themselves and not for Him. If they loved Jesus, they would rejoice that He was returning to His Father to be honoured and glorified after going through much sufferings and pains on earth. But, because they loved themselves more than they loved Jesus, they were sad, sorrowful, worried, or troubled at the news of Jesus returning to His Father in heaven.
Apparently, they were only concerned about what would happen to them in the absence of Jesus. They were not concerned about the shameful and unjust trial, and the agonizing death on the cross that Jesus was about to face.
This is how selfish all human beings are!
Not our fault; we were born that way. So, if you are self-centred and self–focused, you will always exude negative emotions.
As a born again believer, you are now a new creation in Christ, thereby possessing the very life and nature of God (1 Cor. 6:17, 2 Cor. 5:17, 2 Pet. 1:3). The Holy Spirit now lives within you, bearing in your born-again spirit the fruit of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NKJV).
Therefore, your born-again spirit is capable of loving your enemies, rejoicing in tribulation, and having peace amidst turmoil. Your born again spirit is constantly exuding love, joy and peace. But, you will not be able to constantly transmit or manifest the love, joy or peace in your spirit with a carnal or unrenewed mind which is set on pleasing your old man or self.
Beloved, although you are now a new creation in Christ with a great inherent divine capacity for love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, yet until your physical mind is renewed it will always stand in the way and thus hinder your born-again spirit from manifesting fully, constantly and consistently his divine life and nature.
Therefore, it is very crucial for you to begin to put off all the former ways, desires, thoughts, values, plans, ambitions, or mindsets of the old sinful and selfish self that are still stored in your mind, and begin to put on that of the new man in you who is one spirit with Christ (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:20-24).
Friend, when you begin to renew your mind according to the truths of God’s Word you will also begin to evince or express the life and nature of God in your born-again spirit which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for granting me the privilege to become a partaker of divine life and nature. Dear Holy Spirit, help and teach me to renew my mind and deny myself constantly so that I may constantly express the divine life and nature of my born-again spirit, in Jesus’ name. Amen.