Posted by Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:14 p.m., in response to Re: I have a very different perspective on this., posted by andrea on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 12:35 p.m.
The issue that I would like to address is the statment that you make that: "Emotions are of this world."
This is a common view, but where have we gotten this idea? Certainly not from scripture. We are created in the image of God, with a mind to think and create, emotions for participating in the joy and glory of God and a spirit to unite with God deeply and intimately.
I realize that in our fallenness we have chosen to place emotions as the very engine that drives our lives. We have lost stability and purpose as our purpose becomes centered on our "feelings" of the moment. When emotions guide our lives (in the decisions we make) we are burdened beyond understanding with fears (often irrational) and worries, unable to stand firm on the turbulance beneath our feet.
No, emotions are not meant to guide our lives. Nor are they meant to be the point of unity with God. At our conversion His Holy Spirit comes to live within us, into our spirits which were once dead but are now alive to Him in Christ. Our unity with God transcends emotions and even our thoughts. The reality of it is sometimes undetected by us on a conignitive level, but yet pervades every aspect of our lives.
No, emotions are not meant to be the point of unity with God in our lives. BUT they are meant to be the fuel that fires our lives. They give spark to our mind and passion to our spirit. They are an intregal part of our humanity (from the point of creation on) that even Jesus exemplified in His life here on earth.
"Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the
people said to all the people, 'This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.' For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, 'Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, 'Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.' All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them." Neh 8:9-12
It is easy to think that agape (unconditional) love is without emotion...that the less emotion there is in our lives the purer our love is. The purity of our love has nothing to do with our emotions, it has to do with how much Jesus is in control in our lives (including Him being in control of our emotions). This side of eternity, our question should not even be "how pure is our love"...it will never happen completely and the focus is wrong. It is all on *self* instead of on the Lord.
You said: "Kate, you say that emotions are not needed for love but then you turn around and talk about a marriage without passion as being loveless."
Yes, I did say that it is possible to act out love without having passion and desire, but then I also said that this is NOT the place where our spouse or God wants us to remain. You say that you think our spouse will never know if we do not ever have that passion or desire for him. I DISAGREE! The unity of the marriage is meant to be such that the tender nuances of interchange between a man and a woman are felt at a very deep level. He may not know in the "front" of his mind (so to speak) but there is a place deep in his soul where he knows that something is missing. The wife may be walking in obedience to the Lord in showing agape love to her husband, but the unity between man and wife was meant to also include phileo love (brotherly love, that we have for other people we know), storge love (a belonging kind of love, being bonded together in that belonging) AND eros love (erotic, passion love). The reason for all the discourse about a marriage is because God gave it to us as a picture of the relationship of His love and relationship with His bride.
There are some who (erroneously) look at God's love as sterile, distant as a surgeon who uses the scalpel without any feeling for their patient; cutting out the offending tissue with an academic concern only. Let us look at how God Himself describes His relationship and love toward us.
"How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled." Hosea 11:8
"The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will
be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." Zeph 3:17
"Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands..." Is. 49:15-16a
"The seventy returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.'
And He said to them, 'I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning... Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.' At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, 'I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth..." Luke 10:17-18,20-21a
Read all of Luke 15, especially verses 7, 10.
"When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, 'If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.'" Luke 19:41-42
"Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him." Matt 20:34
"And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.
Then He said to them, 'My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch
with Me.'" Matt 26:37-38
"When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply
moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, 'See how He loved him!' But some of them said, 'Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?' So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying
against it." John 11:33-38
And many more. Let us understand the difference between times of dryness and a lifetime of emptiness. Satan deceives us in many ways, and one of them is asceticism. May we all seek and learn to walk in the abundant life He promises to us; with all the trials and tribulations He allows, abiding in His joy and desire of us!
In His Joy and Grace,
Posted by Julie Hamilton on Monday, 14 September 1998, at 7:40 a.m., in response to Where do emotions come from? Are they from the world or created from the mind of God? (long), posted by Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:14 p.m.
One need only read the Song of Solomon to see the passion Christ has for us! Of course God gave us our emotions, but they are not to dictate reality to us nor be a roadmap for our lives. The balancing of emotion with truth is an area we must discipline ourselves in. I think this is generally more of a challenge for us women.
Julie in PA
Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:40 p.m., in response to Re: I have a very different perspective on this., posted by andrea on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 12:35 p.m.
Kate responded above to the question of whether emotions are inherently worldly. This is an issue I did quite a bit of thinking about, a while ago, so I though I'd post sections of three articles I wrote (to and for myself) several years ago.
While I'm at it, let me remind everyone that a few months ago I mentioned that I was counseling a Christian brother about learning to open up emotionally, to find emotional healing in the Lord, to learn to process negative emotions in a godly way rather than stuffing them. I asked at that time for any advice or anecdotes or insights that any of you had. The request stands today -- if anyone has any thoughts that might be helpful to me, I'd welcome them.
Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:46 p.m., in response to Are emotions valuable?, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:40 p.m.
Here is a portion of an article on the value of emotions ...
Here are a few thoughts I have been thinkin' recently.
First, I think the Christian world as a whole has missed the boat slightly regarding emotions. Or actually, I guess I just mean the non-charismatic conservative evangelicals. We have concentrated so much on the idea that our emotions shouldn't control how we live, that we have implicitly taught that emotions are irrelevant to life -- not by saying so, but by never saying anything positive about emotion.
I think this is not right -- we shouldn't make choices based on emotions, but emotions have a place in our lives.
God made us to be emotional beings -- it is part of our design. We don't work right when our emotions are out of line! And we don't fully reflect the glory of Christ until we allow Him to remake our emotional nature as well as the rest of us.
One purpose for emotions may be to motivate us; although we are capable of doing what is right without feeling like it, and must do so frequently, I don't think God ever intended us to go for long periods of time without the support of emotions. He intended our feelings to follow our choices; once we have made a definite decision about something in the absence of emotion, the inertia is broken. Before long our emotions will normally kick in as well. Once the inertia has been broken, we shouldn't have to work as hard to maintain momentum. Refusing the help of emotions at this point is like riding a bike in the wrong gear. It burns us out, drains us of energy.
It is dangerous for us to guided by emotions -- but why? Because we are fallen, not because we are emotional! Only Scripture is a truly safe guide. Both emotions and intellect must be in line with it. Fallen intellect is just as suspect as fallen emotions...
... It is also true that intellect and emotion have different roles to play in our lives. Some decisions are more appropriate to make by the intellect. But there are also many things which we do better when we are guided by feelings.
Since we are fallen emotionally, we have a responsibility to let God re-make us emotionally. The world has an "answer" to improving the intellect -- science -- and an answer to improving the emotional nature of man -- fine arts. Christians should expect God to lead them into the forefront in both these areas. Fallen man cannot improve himself, forever. The changes we experience through Christ should far surpass mere human arts and sciences.
One important consequence of missing the value of emotions is our doctrine of agape love. We teach, properly, that agape love does what is best for another person, regardless of how lovable that person is. In the human realm, it is possible to love one's spouse and not be IN LOVE at all -- because "love is an act of the will, not a feeling". Unfortunately, I believe some Christians begin to think that God's love for us is only an act of the will, and not a feeling. This bothers them, but they think it should not -- they believe that properly understood, that is all love needs to be. I think this is a grave error. Love is an act of the will when there is no feeling, but when feeling is present, love includes that as well. God not only loves us in the sense of doing what is best, but He desires us and shouts for joy in our midst. And further, it is important for us to know this. God did not choose the word love to describe His relationship to us to just to have us throw away all the associations of that word with passion and romance -- those things were meant to be pictures of the heart of God for us.
Similarly, we need to learn to feel for those we love, if our mercy is to have any punch to it. We need to have our hearts break with compassion for those who hurt. The idea of love as merely an act of the will has led to a justification of "cold love". (See 1 Cor 13:3, Rev. 2:4)
Our emotions were intended to be a part of our love for God as well as for others, and this affects our view of worship ... Still another doctrine that is affected by our devaluing emotion is the question of what it means to "rejoice always" (see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Philippians 4:4, for instance). [The third article below deals with this.]
Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:55 p.m., in response to Value of emotions Part 1, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:46 p.m.
This article is much more personal, but maybe it will address struggles that some of you have also experienced.
November 8, 1995
Some thoughts from the study with [some friends] last night.
We talked for a while about the lack of a good theology of the place of emotion in the Christian faith. I mentioned the normal stuff David [my brother] and I have considered -- rejoicing in the Lord, love as more than an act of the will (especially God's love), Psalms as teaching us how to feel, not just how to think, etc.
At the same time, I was talking about my struggles to unite the vision of God as a stern God and God as a gentle Father. The OT view of God in Ezekiel and the NT view of Jesus. Why does Ezekiel make me feel lonely?
Finally, it hit me -- when I think of God as stern, I am unsure how to relate emotionally to him. I know how to bring joy and thanks to God; I know how to bring sorrow and worry to God; but I don't know how to bring my failures and guilt and shame to a God who is reproving me. When I think of Christ as holding me accountable, say, in my job, then I can't figure out how to draw near to Him. I feel like He is far off, but not because He has retreated -- because I have retreated. When I feel reproved, I run FROM him instead of TO him.
So, the question is, what is the appropriate way to draw near to God emotionally when He is reproving me? Two things seem to shed light on this.
a) Think how I want my children to react -- in sorrow and repentance, in seriousness, but not by leaving me, but by drawing near to me.
b) Consider James 4:7-10 -- learn to sorrow in a way that draws near to God.
Just as we are called to rejoice in the Lord always, we are called to mourn sometimes as well.
I think that learning this will help me to deal with shame a little better. The problem is that shame, for me, has always been a distancing thing. It always separated me from Dad, for example, rather than pulling us closer. What I really need from God is to learn how to let him be right with me as I deal with the shame of failure.
Is this what David (of Israel) did? You bet -- compare 2 Sam 12.
Finally, remember that it is not that God withdraws when He is being stern or when I am ashamed -- it is ME. He waits for me to draw near to him. Compare our kids -- when they have done something wrong and been punished, we know things aren't right until they are willing to hug us, to be physically close. They withdraw in their spirits before that.
By the way, on a side note, two other things came out of that discussion. First, Kate mentioned how for women, there tend to be two wrong ways for them to deal with the emotional swings associated with various hormonal changes. One is to decide it's fine to be a basket case. The other is to struggle to simply ignore or overpower all the negative emotions (the men tell them this, usually). Well, rejoicing in the Lord is the answer -- not negating the negative emotions, but looking to God and finding the joy that they have in him, even in the midst of all the emotional turmoil. That can be an anchor as they battle the rest. Letting go of this anchor (being a basket case) is not rejoicing in the Lord. Trying to just ignore the emotions is failing to reach for the anchor; the key is not for us to avoid sorrow or distress -- God didn't say "stop grieving in the Lord always" -- it is to focus on the joy that we DO have, even in the midst of the other stuff. Second, the common thread of all the passages to husbands is the need to be gentle and tender; and tenderness is inherently dependent on emotions. Acting tender towards our wives without letting our emotional wall down still comes across as harsh, to some degree. Men have to learn to let the emotions they do have be opened up when they are being tender. Third, by the way, understanding emotions will help us communicate far more powerfully when we teach or preach or share the gospel. A decision made from emotion may not be sincere -- but the same holds for a decision made from intellect! Sincerity, when it comes to spiritual issues, is not a matter of emotion vs. intellect; it is a matter of whether God was in it.
Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 7:06 p.m., in response to Value of emotions Part 2, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:55 p.m.
Here is the third installment.
Still another doctrine that is affected by our devaluing emotion is the question of what it means to "rejoice always" (see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Philippians 4:4, for instance)...
Below I will spell out some of the questions that can arise from this innocent looking command. Then I will review some of the common answers given. Each of them has something good to say, but in my opinion none is completely satisfactory. Finally, I will present my own view of the matter.
The questions arise from a fundamental paradox involved in the question of consistent joy. On the one hand, we are urged to rejoice always. On the other, common sense, experience, and Biblical examples all seem to show that life on earth normally involves as much grief as joy.
As a result, there are several interconnected but distinct questions about rejoicing always. One, how can I make myself feel a certain way? Experience seems to show that my emotions are sometimes beyond my control. Two, it is very difficult to always be emotionally "up". Is it really healthy for me to sustain a prolonged emotional high? If so, how? If not, what does it mean to rejoice always? Three, isn't joy something intrinsic to my personality? How can we reconcile this command with the a respect for individual personality types. Fourth, aren't there times when it is appropriate to grieve? For example, when a close family member dies. Sometime the Scripture even commands us to grieve. (For example, James 4:9, Romans 12:15, etc.)
Clearly, to rejoice always does not mean exactly what it seems to on the surface, and we all sense that. Most of us aren't really confused about this on a superficial level; we sense when the verse applies and when it doesn't. Nonetheless, it is helpful to untangle these questions and lay out as far as possible a coherent doctrine of joy.
The most common answer to these questions is to distinguish between "joy", which is spiritual (rejoice "in the lord"), and "happiness", which is merely emotional. Other explanations may use different terminology but hinge on the same distinction between the emotional and the spiritual.
There definitely is a distinction between joy "in the Lord" and the superficial happiness that comes and goes with the weather. The distinction, however, is not that one is spiritual and the other emotional. Instead the distinction lies in the SOURCE of our joy. "Happiness" springs from circumstances, whereas "joy" springs from the Lord. Since circumstances can change, happiness comes and goes. Since the Lord never changes, joy in Him can be constant.
Joy in the Lord must have a spiritual component, considering its source. But it has an emotional aspect as well -- it extends beyond our spirits to our whole being, including emotions. That is as it should be. Part of interpreting Scripture is to accept words as having their ordinary meaning whenever possible, and "joy" ordinarily means an emotion. There is almost certainly SOME emotional aspect to what the Scripture is talking about.
There is another common way to resolve the paradox of continual joy. If I think about what I have felt in the past, I realize that sometimes I have felt joyful, sometimes sad, sometimes just dry, and many other kinds of emotions as well. But sometimes even in periods of dryness or sorrow, I became aware of a deep, almost hidden "joy" that seemed to have always been with me. Perhaps our joy in the Lord refers to this deep satisfaction with God and who He is. Perhaps this joy is always present with us, even when we do not directly feel its effects on the service. Then this might be what the verses about joy in the Lord refer to.
I agree with this point of view almost completely. The only point I have difficulty with is the idea that "this joy is always present with us". If that inward, deep joy is always present then what are we being commanded to do in the verses? If the verses tell us to rejoice, then the choice is up to us -- it must be possible for us NOT to have joy in the Lord. I believe that the inward deep awareness of God's presence and satisfaction with Him may be ever-present at some deep level. But this is not what we are commanded to have. I think the joy we are commanded to have may be dependent on this deep abiding contentment, but it must have some additional component that is not always present for a Christian Otherwise, the verses would be promises and not commands.
Third, is it possible that the question of continual joy hinges on a misunderstanding of what it "continual" means? There is a distinction between doing something "continually" and "continuously". The second means without a break. The first might mean merely regularly. That is, let joy characterize your lives, on the whole, and let there be no circumstance which eliminates that characteristic.
I think this is also quite true. If so, it answers some of the questions. "How can I make myself feel a certain way?" Well, if the issue is one of characteristic joy, it seems more possible to affect my own emotions. I may not be able to switch my feelings on and off, but I can affect them slowly, by changing what I think about and who I talk to and how I act. So perhaps I am responsible not so much to instantly snap out of a bad mood as to work to overcome it in time. "Is it really healthy for me to sustain a prolonged emotional high?" Perhaps not, but it is healthy for me to be characteristically joyful, over the long term.
Still, the context of the verses seem to imply that we need to rejoice most when circumstances are hardest. So we cannot simply "ride out" tough times until we feel good again, and claim to be obeying the verses. There are still questions to be answered.
I personally believe one more point can help resolve the issue, and that is to recognize that we can rejoice and grieve at the same time. We talk about this all the time when we use the word "bittersweet" or when we speak of having "mixed emotions". In many circumstances, I can say "Well, because of such and such, I am sad, but at least I can be happy that ... is true."
I believe that is the primary idea of these verses. They are saying that no matter what else happens, the Lord is always one reason for joy. We are responsible for always remembering that, and balancing all our most severe grief with some part of our soul saying, "But at least I know that God is for me ..". This joy in the Lord then becomes an anchor for our souls, holding us in balance, and keeping grief from sweeping it away.
It is based on the abiding Holy Spirit in our lives, but we must hold to that joy to have it. It is quite possible to let grief or anger or guilt or unforgiveness, or whatever, overwhelm us and carry us away until we lose our bearings and forget the joy offered to us in God...
This particular "article" was one I never finished, but just left notes sketching out the remainder of what I had to say. I intended to return to the four questions I asked at the beginning, more or less as follows.
One, how can I make myself feel a certain way?
Partial answer: It is possible, to some degree, by changing what I am focusing on and not insisting on instant change. Emotions will come into line in time when we repent of sulkiness and change our focus.
Two, it is very difficult to always be emotionally "up". Is it really healthy for me to sustain a prolonged emotional high?
Partial answer: Joy can be quiet without being gone.
Three, isn't joy something intrinsic to my personality?
Partial answer: Each personality expresses joy differently, but all can have it. We do need to be careful on the one hand to give others freedom to express and feel joy as is natural to them, and on the other hand to be open to whatever God shows us emotionally, even if it is foreign to us.
Fourth, aren't there times when it is appropriate to grieve?
Partial answer: It is appropriate to grieve. Just not to let the grief overwhelm the anchor of joy deep in our soul. Nothing is so completely grieving that it should make irrelevant the salvation Christ purchased for us, or the sovereign God's majesty and beauty.
I also had a section at the end emphasizing that the Psalms are God's method of teaching and reshaping us emotionally.
Posted by Julie Hamilton on Monday, 14 September 1998, at 8:29 a.m., in response to Are emotions valuable?, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:40 p.m.
... but here goes.
I had the problem seemingly opposite that of your friend -- my emotions ran my life. Ran it into the ground, most of the time! But the turning point in finding emotional balance for me came one afternoon in my kitchen.
We had been part of a wonderful church family for several years. We had been taught a great deal about our emotions, and I was finally starting to grasp that even *I*, who had been told I was "over-sensitive" and "overly emotional" since I was a kid, could actually have a hope of being different. I equated my sensitivity with weakness and loathed myself for it, but I felt powerless to change anything.
One afternoon I had a big argument with my son, who was about 14 at the time. He was up in his room and I came down to the kitchen. That old, familiar tape recording began playing in my head for the millionth time, "I am such a rotten mother. I have really screwed that kid up. How could I be so worthless? These kids would be better off without me." Suddenly I got hold of myself and slammed my hand on the counter and said "No!" Then I reminded myself of the truth.
The truth is that God loves me and He is working in and through me. I am not perfect by any means, but when I mess up I am not an utter failure. The truth is that I love my son enough to die for him, and he knows that. The truth is we had a bad day and argued. Yes, I needed to make things right with my son, and when we both cooled off I did, but I determined right then there that I was NOT going to go down the emotional road (this time of self-condemnation) and end up in a depression for three days or three weeks, with my family suffering right along with me. My emotions had been up to the ceiling, but acknowledging the truth settled them down, and instantly I began to notice a difference in my perspective.
This was truly a turning point for me. I began to use my brain a little more and make decisions based on scripture and common sense rather than how I felt at the time. I am much, MUCH more emotionally balanced than I have ever been. I am beginning to accept my sensitivity as a gift from God rather than some flaw that I have to deal with. When I sing a song in church, many times I cannot get through it without choking up a bit. This used to make me feel stupid, but I know that this is how God made me, and many people have told me that they wish they were as open with their feelings as I am and that my sensitivity is a blessing to them. Imagine that! The very thing I loathed about myself for thirty years has been used to bless others and help them to open up!
Bruce, my wonderful and patient husband, has had to bear the burden of being married to a woman whose Dad abandoned her when she was a teenager. I have had a hard time (to put it mildly) trusting that he really loves me and will be faithful to me. Since Dad messed around and then left my Mom for someone else, deep down I felt like Bruce would, too.
My emotions, tied into those fears of abandonment, made our marriage a roller coaster for the first several years. But you know what? God also used ME to minister to my husband, whom I have referred to many times as Mr. Spock. You know -- "Logical. Flawlessly logical." :-D He had been hurt deeply when he was a young man and at that point determined that he would gain control of (stuff down, kill and deny) any emotions that would render him vulnerable. When I met him he could not even talk about the source of his pain.
I have watched this man blossom into a healthier, more open individual over the years. He is able to *really* love me and our children, without reservation, without holding back because he has been set free from the burden of containing all that within himself. God has freed him.
Bruce is still logical, and I am still sensitive. That is how God made us. But we are both much healthier and more balanced now because of the work Christ is doing in us.
I do hope your friend will trust the loving Lord to protect and heal him from whatever is making him shut down emotionally. How wonderful that he has a friend like you to walk through this with him and pray for him. I also hope he remembers that the Holy Spirit is our defender and that we do not have to protect ourselves from misunderstanding and hurt. That is His job!
May God bless the time you and your friend spend together, and may He bring your friend into a place of balance in his life.
Julie in PA
Posted by Valerie on Tuesday, 15 September 1998, at 12:27 a.m., in response to Are emotions valuable?, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 6:40 p.m.
First let me say that I am intimidated in writing to you (and Kate) because the two of you have such a wonderful gift for communicating! But I won't let that stop me! :D
While not a sure-fire thing, I have found that my emotions, and sometimes lack of them, are an indicator of what areas in my mind are "fortresses" in need of being pulled down with the "sword of truth".
Due to the late hour, I am pasting part of something I posted in the past in response to someone dealing with depression. I think it will give you an idea of what I mean. When I find that my "emotions" are not matching up with what I find the Word advising me, I can be sure my thoughts have not yet been renewed by God's truths. I believe that as we accept God's truths about Himself, ourselves and the world around us, we will find that our emotions will be appropriatly "spiritual" ... such as peace that surpasses all understanding no matter the circmstances, compassion for those so hard to otherwise love, joy when encountering trials ... (am growing in this one - better than I used to be! :))
When we have been brought up with and have believed lies long enough we are not conciously aware of how the events in our lives are filtered through them constantly, yet our emotions and reactions help to expose that these "fortresses" in our mind exist. Not always obvious, but often well-hidden, these errors, untruths, & outright lies in our thinking must be replaced with God's truths. This to me, is building upon that sure foundation, of Jesus - the Truth.
Here is that post I said I would paste in. (I am not supposing that any of this is new to you ... it has just made such a difference in my own life, making me a sound-minded woman rather than one tossed to and fro, that I like to talk about it whenever I can *BG*.)
(By the way, I so much enjoy reading everything you and your wife post here!)
Thoughts --- create feelings
Feelings --- create actions
Actions --- create habits
Habits --- create character!
God has told us to renew our minds with His Word. Why? Because our minds are full of lies from the enemy! He is the god of this world, and we learn them thru incorrect teaching, growing up in unsaved families, schools, etc.
Lies about God - Who He is, how much He loves us, whether His love is really unconditional.
Lies about Jesus - Did He really die for ALL my sins, just the ones I repent of? Can I lose my salvation? What about tommorrows? If I sin, does my "fellowship" with Him break? Am I not able to go to Him until I have gotten my act together?
Lies about me & the people around me - I'll never change or get the victory over this.
I'm a failure, etc. Everyone's doing better than I am. No one loves me, etc.
So many, many lies!!! God desires to wash our minds of the untruths we have learned in this life and replace them all with THE TRUTH - HIS TRUTH. Who He really is and how much He loves us. How great the debt was we owed and how Jesus paid it in full with no balance remaining! How we can ALWAYS go to God and find grace and mercy IN OUR TIME OF NEED! How He can never love us any more than He already does right now, at this moment, in the condition we are in right now (still battling
& crucifying our flesh)! And how the TRUTH about that condition is that we are cleansed - set aside for Him - holy and covered with robes of righteousness bought with price, the blood of Jesus!
In 2 Corinthians 10:10:3-6 we can see how the lies in our minds turn into fortresses. It is those speculations (ideas which have no basis in fact), and "lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God" (things not in agreement with God's Word) which become fortresses in our minds. And the weapon we are to use to pull them down is the
sword of the Spirit - which is the Word of God! (Ephesians 6:17)
All this is true whether it has to do with spiritual issues or issues concerning our kids and
husbands! This is why we have that wonderful passage in Philipians - we are told in 4:4-9 to be thankful and not anxious and then told, finally, brethren, think about these things ... whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, if there is ANY excellence and ANYTHING worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
Can't you just hear the plea? Is there anything good in this situation that you can find to
think about? There must be SOMETHING! That's how our lives are sometimes. But this is SO POWERFUL because again, what we think about, creates our feelings, etc.
Since you mentioned that you have been depressed before, I would ask God to show you what "lies" may be at the root of some of these things. Tear them down with His truths and you will know how "the truth will set you free"!!!
All of this is so real to me because I had so many fortresses that need demolishing! What a difference it has made in my life to see God remove them one by one! And once torn down they stay that way! God's truths are permanent. This is also the problem that double-minded man has. He moves between the truths He knows and the lies He still knowlingly, or unknowlingly, believes, unable to receive the good things God wants to give to Him. We need to permanently fix our gaze upon the law of liberty and believe what it says! (James)
PS - And I must admit, how much sweeter His truths are with these emotions He has given me! How much I would miss the joy which wells up in thankfulness in my heart when I sing or read "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness, Oh Lord, great is Thy faithfulness." Dry desert or green river valley, since learning the truth of His grace & acceptance and my security in Christ, these words have not failed to bring up those feelings in me yet! : )