A Change of Mind. Day three...
“Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans.” (Mr. Spock of Star Trek)
Unlike Mr. Spock, I am not disgusted with all human emotion—only the destructive kind. Healthy emotions are critical to our well‐being, but destructive emotions lead to destructive behavior—and we don't need any more destruction.
If we want to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (see Romans 12:2) we must learn how to deal with our emotions. And one of the first steps in this process is learning where emotions belong in the pecking order of our human existence.
Emotions do not belong at the head of the line.
When we feel before we think we generally get into trouble, because those feelings that want to get ahead of thinking are generally destructive.
When emotions get ahead of thought, the “feeling” part generally skips right to the “doing” part and bad things can happen:
- Sally lost her job because, for the fourth time this month, she didn't feel like going to work.
- Hank lost his family because he felt more excitement with his lover than with his wife.
- Chuck lost his promotion because he felt like he couldn't handle the increased stress.
- Sue lost her desire to get out of the house because she felt like her friends had all turned against her.
Sally would have never listened to a feeling if she had first listened to the truth:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23 ESV)
The truth, when processed before any feelings, says, “Self, you are not working just for men. You are working for the Lord, and you will not treat the Lord with disrespect. So get out of bed and get to work!” And the truth would never tolerate any feeling that said otherwise.
Hank would have never fallen for the excitement of the affair if he had first listened to the truth:
You should be faithful to your wife, just as you take water from your own well. And don't be like a stream from which just any woman may take a drink. Save yourself for your wife and don't have sex with other women. Be happy with the wife you married when you were young. She is beautiful and graceful, just like a deer; you should be attracted to her and stay deeply in love. (Proverbs 5:15–19 CEV)
The truth, when processed before any feelings, says, “Self, wake up! Take a look at your wife the way the Lord looks at her. You chose her, in the beginning, because she was the most desirable woman in your life. Take a look at her now in the same way that the Lord sees her. And you will see that she's still the most desirable woman in your life.” And the truth would never tolerate any feeling that said otherwise.
Chuck would have never fallen for the stress that comes with additional responsibility if he had first listened to the truth:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
The truth, when processed before any feelings, says, “Self, your success in your new job is not up to you. Quit stressing out. It is Christ in you that makes all things possible.” And the truth would never tolerate any feeling that said otherwise.
Sue would have never fallen for the self‐pity of jealousy if she had first listened to the truth:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:1–2 ESV)
The truth, when processed before any feelings, says, “Self, you have no reason to be jealous of your friends' success. Go find them and rejoice with them. You won't miss out on a single thing you need if you'll just ask out of a pure heart.” And the truth would never tolerate any feeling that said otherwise.
We cannot live by how we feel. How we feel must not come at the head of the line.
We must change our minds about our emotions and make sure they always follow sound thinking.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)
When sound thinking is at the head of the line, healthy emotions will follow.
Have a good day,