The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:2, “From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires” (GNT).
What are human desires? They’re your emotions and your affections. Once you become a Christ-follower, your life should be controlled by God’s will, not by how you feel.
Let me give you three questions to ask about your emotions when you’re trying to figure out how to deal with how you feel. When you’re angry or upset or frustrated—whatever you’re feeling—consider these three questions:
- “What’s the real reason I’m feeling this?” Maybe the answer is fear or worry. Maybe it relates to something your dad said to you years ago. Someone else says something similar, and even though it’s been years, that person becomes the target of all your pent up anger.
- “Is it true?” Is what you’re feeling at that moment true? There’s a point in the Bible where Elijah got so discouraged that he went to God and complained, “God, I’m the only one in the entire nation of Israel left serving you.” And God challenged him, saying, “Are you kidding me? I’ve got all these people who are still serving me! You’re acting like you’re the only one trying to do the right thing in the whole world! No. That’s not true.”
- “Is what I’m feeling helping me or hurting me?” Will you get what you want by continuing to feel this way? A lot of feelings we have seem natural, but they’re actually self-defeating.
Let’s say you go to a restaurant, and the service is extremely slow. You wait a long time to be served, and then a couple comes in 15 minutes after you and gets their meals before you do. You become increasingly irritated until you feel something welling up inside you.
What’s the real reason you’re feeling that way? You’re hungry!
Is it true? Yes. You’re frustrated because the service is slow. But consider if your emotion is helping or hurting? Do you get better service by getting angry with the server? Absolutely not.
Does nagging work? Has it ever worked? When somebody tells you all the things you’re doing wrong, does it make you want to change? No! All it does is make you defensive.
When you ask yourself these three questions, you get a better grip on why you feel the way you do and what you need to do to help the situation.
That’s called managing your emotions.