Friday, February 25, 2011

Stewardship, part 6 - Our Emotions

We humans are emotional people. As we read the scriptures and take a look at normal human experience, we discover the gamut of human emotions being expressed-- happiness, excitement, sadness, fear, depression, grief, compassion, jealousy, anger, frustration, disappointment, and others.

Emotions are part of our make-up as human beings. They are part of our souls, that immaterial of who we are as humans. Therefore, our expression of emotions is a stewardship opportunity; how can we express our emotions to the glory of God?

In diving into this subject, we must understand something about emotions. Since they are part of our natural make-up as human beings, emotions do not happen to us, they are produced from within us. To be sure, something outside of us (i.e. circumstances, words of someone else, actions of someone else, a difficult situation) may trigger an emotion, but the emotion comes from and has its origin within us. The intensity of the emotion that rises up within us is related to our degree of connectedness to the trigger of that emotion and the condition of our heart at the time of the trigger.

We have probably all heard someone say, “You made me angry” or some variation of that statement. Well, if emotions are produced from within us, then we are responsible for that emotion and the expression of that emotion, not the other person or the circumstances that triggered the emotion’s expression.

Another example is the emotion of frustration. Sometimes, I get “frustrated” with our third child. He is somewhat rambunctious at times (yes, understatement of the year, I know, but hang with me), and I get frustrated with his behavior. Now, who is responsible for “my” frustration? It’s not Carter, it’s me. He might be the trigger of it, but I’m responsible for my response to his behavior. He is responsible for himself, but he is not responsible for me.

A godly response to the rising up of frustration (or any other emotion) will be determined to the degree that I am walking in the Spirit and being controlled by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16-26 and Ephesians 5:18).
Emotions can be sensitive issue in our culture today because they can be so strong in our lives. It is worthy of our time, energy, and effort to cultivate a lifestyle of walking in the Spirit so that we can be faithful stewards of our emotions so that we might express them in a manner that is worthy of the gospel and to the glory of God.

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