Learning to follow God's word rather than your emotions could be one of your greatest challenges as a Christian. In a world that constantly bombards you with messages of self-fulfillment and “following your heart," it can be challenging to discern between what is true and what is simply driven by your emotions.
However, the Bible is clear that you are to walk by faith and not by sight as a disciple of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:7), and this includes not letting your emotions rule you.
There are numerous instances in the Bible of disciples who had the chance to follow their emotions but instead clung to the Holy Spirit's guidance and the written word of God. Let's look at a few of these instances in more detail to see how you can avoid allowing your emotions to rule you.
In the Old Testament, you see the story of Moses. He was raised as a prince in Egypt, with all the comforts and luxuries one could desire. But after killing an Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew slave, he fled and lived in exile for 40 years.
At the burning bush (Exodus 3), God speaks to Moses and tells him that He has been chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. This was a significant opportunity that would have stirred up many emotions, both positive and negative. On one hand, Moses could have been excited about the potential fame and power that came with being a leader. On the other hand, he may have been fearful of the responsibility and potential backlash from the Egyptian authorities. But in Exodus 3:12, we see Moses' response to God's call:
And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. Instead of being swayed by his emotions, Moses clung to the promise of God's presence and faithfulness. And despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles, he continued to trust in God's leading and eventually led the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moving into the New Testament, we see the story of Peter. He was one of Jesus' closest disciples and witnessed many of his miracles and teachings firsthand. In Matthew 16, Jesus asks his disciples who they believe him to be. Peter, filled with emotion and zeal for his teacher, answers,
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).
This declaration was not based on logic or reason but rather on Peter's emotions and love for Jesus. But in the very next verse, we see Jesus' response to Peter's confession:
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 16:17).
Jesus reminds Peter that his proclamation was not based on emotion but rather on revelation. And later on, when Peter's emotions lead him to deny Jesus three times, he is reminded of this truth and repents (Matthew 26:75).
Paul is another illustration of a disciple who resisted the temptation to follow their emotions. In his letter to the Galatians, he is confronted with the issue of circumcision and the pressure to conform to the Jewish laws and traditions. This would have been a highly emotional issue, as it was linked to their beliefs and identity as Jews. But Paul does not give in to these emotions; rather, he writes in Galatians 5:1,
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Paul understood that your freedom as a believer comes from Christ alone and not from following religious laws and traditions. He remained firm in his belief and trust in the Holy Spirit's leading, rather than being swayed by the religious emotions of those around him.
These are just a few examples from the Bible of disciples who resisted the temptation to be ruled by their emotions and instead chose to be led by the truth of God's written word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, you can learn from these examples and apply them to your own life. You must constantly be on guard against the enemy's tactics to use your emotions to draw you away from the truth. You can do this by staying rooted in God's word and cultivating a close relationship with the Holy Spirit, who will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).
As Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us,
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
In conclusion, as a Christian, you must resist the temptation to follow your emotions and instead follow the Holy Spirit and the word of God. Remember the examples of Moses, Peter, and Paul, who remained faithful to God's calling and promises despite their emotions. And as you continue to grow in your faith, may you always seek to align your emotions with the truth of God's word.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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