Jesus says in Mark 12:29-30, “The most important commandment is this . . . ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT).
Do you hear the emotion in the words of Jesus? He’s saying he doesn’t want you to just kind of love him. He wants you to love him passionately—with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. God wants more than your head knowledge. He wants an emotional relationship with you.
There are some things you need to understand about emotions.
First, God has emotions. God is an emotional God. He feels joy, grief, pain, and hatred toward sin. He gets frustrated with people. The only reason you have emotions is because you’re made in God’s image. If God wasn’t an emotional God, you wouldn’t have any emotions.
Second, your ability to feel is a gift from God. Emotions are what make you human. It is your emotional ability that allows you to love and create and be faithful and loyal and kind and generous and experience all of the emotions that are attached to the good things in life. Your emotions may not always seem like a gift, but even the negative ones have a purpose in your life.
Third, there are two extremes to avoid. Emotionalism is the extreme of saying the only thing that matters in life is how you feel—not what you think or what’s right or wrong. Everything in life is based on your emotions. Emotions control your life.
On the other hand, stoicism says feelings aren’t important at all, and the only things that matter are your intellect and your will.
There are entire Christian denominations built on these differing approaches to emotions. Some Christians have decided that it doesn’t really matter how you feel. They downplay emotions.
That’s not right. God gave you your emotions for a reason, and he wants you to worship him emotionally—with all your heart and all your mind.