CONTROLLING YOUR NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
You are not a normal human being if you have no feelings or emotions. But, you are a fool if you cannot control your feelings or emotions. The Scripture says: “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” (Prov. 29:11 NKJV).
God created us with capacity to evince or express diverse emotions. Without such capacity, we are not better than robots. It will undoubtedly be difficult to relate well with one another without being able to feel or express any emotions or feelings.
A world full of people without any emotions would certainly be very dull, boring, and uninteresting. In contrast, a world full of people with no control over their emotions would certainly be a wild, dangerous, and unsafe place to live.
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.
While your capacity for emotions was given to you by God, it is your personal responsibility to control your emotions, especially the negative emotions.
The Scripture commands: “Put an end to your wrath and be no longer bitter; do not give way to angry feeling which is a cause of sin.” (Psa. 37:8 BBE).
It is absolutely untrue to think that you cannot control your negative feelings!
Uncontrolled negative emotions have ruined many lives, homes, relationships, marriages, businesses, and organizations. If you allow any negative emotions to rule, dominate, control, or drive you, it may eventually ruin you and everything that is precious to you.
The history is replete with many accounts of great ruins uncontrolled negative emotions have brought upon fools who gave vent to all their emotions or feelings. The Bible does not hide from us the terrible effects of uncontrolled negative emotions in people’s lives. The Bible also shows us how to deal with or control negative emotions lest they ruin our lives.
Cain became the first murderer, fugitive and vagabond on earth because he would not control, rule, and restrain his negative emotions, particularly anger and envy. Although God warned Cain to rule over his negative emotions, yet he surrendered to them. Consequently, his negative emotions drove him into killing his brother, Abel (Gen. 4:6-7).
Like Cain, many people today have become murderers, fugitives and vagabonds because they would not control their negative, wild or violent emotions or tempers.
Moses, a great leader and prophet of God, made a grave mistake in a moment of an uncontrolled emotion (anger) that hindered him from entering into the Promised Land. Moses’ anger drove him to strike the rock twice instead of speaking to the rock as commanded by God (Num. 20:1-12).
Like Moses, when you fail to control your negative and wild emotions, you are prone to making grave mistakes. Therefore, it is very crucial for you to control your negative emotions and not let them control you.
How do you control your negative, wild or violent emotions?
First, Take Responsibility for Your Negative Emotions:
Until you quit blaming others for your bad tempers, outburst of negative emotions, and wild or violent actions and reactions, you will never be able to deal effectively with them. While you may not have full control over what people say and do to you, however, you have full control over how you will react or respond to them (Psa. 37:8, Prov. 29:11, 14:29, Jam. 1:19).
If you continue to justify or make excuses for your negative emotions – sorrow, depression, fear, anger, worry, or anxiety – you will only remain their puppet or slave.
Nobody or situation is responsible for the way you feel other than yourself!
Second, Renew Your Mind according to God’s Word:
Your emotions are not controlled from outside, but from within you. Your soul or mind is the control centre for your emotions. You respond or react to people or situation based on your perception, imagination, or mind-set.
For instance, it is what you have considered, imagined, or thought to be dangerous or life- threatening that you will be afraid of. Your mindset determines, shapes, influences or controls your emotions or feelings. Your feelings flow in the direction of your thoughts.
Your mind is primarily responsible for the way you feel!
When you are thinking good thoughts, you will naturally feel good. But when you are thinking bad thoughts, you will feel bad. This is why you feel good, relaxed, happy, or excited in the presence of someone you have considered or settled in your mind to be your lover or friend. But feel terrible, upset or sad when you remember or think about someone who has hurt, betrayed, abused or maltreated you and you have not truly forgiven.
It is the thought that you allow to rule or to dominate your mind that will ultimately determine, shape, influence, or control your emotions or feelings. This is why the Scripture says: “For as the thoughts of his heart are, so is he…” (Prov. 23:7 BBE).
Therefore, the battle to control your emotions is either won or lost in the mind. If you fail to take control of your thoughts, you cannot control your emotions or feelings. If you fail to rule your mind, you will also fail to rule your emotions or feelings.
If the Word of God dwells richly in you, your emotions will align with God’s Word!
This is why the Scripture admonishes: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” (Philip. 4:8 NKJV).
Friend, your meditation greatly affects, determines, or influences your emotions. Your feeling is according to your thinking. It is what you constantly think that you will eventually feel. Therefore, if you always think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report; your feelings will follow suit.
Your feelings will always come after, flow along, or align with your thoughts. This is why you must constantly renew your mind by constantly imbibing or taking in the words or teachings of Christ and His early apostles. When you let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, your thinking and thus your feelings will be ruled, dominated, influenced and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
This is why the Scripture admonishes you to: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16 NKJV).
Third, Deny Yourself:
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 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: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 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.” (Gal. 5:16-17 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.
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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, Jesus said to them: “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.
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!
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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 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 or recreated 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.
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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 that is still 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 words or teachings so that you begin to see, perceive, view, or think like Jesus Christ in every situation, you will surely begin to evince or express the life and nature of God in your born again spirit – “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NKJV).