Feelings are much like waves; we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf. ~ Jonatan Martensson
What kind of life do you want? Let me guess.
You want peace, prosperity, and good health. You’d like life to be less hurried and harried. Am I right?
Health, peace and even prosperity are directly affected by our thoughts and emotions. It’s been proven time and time again that stress creates disease. Stress is created by overpowering negative emotions. God wants you stress-free.
Have you ever tried to put a complicated ready-to-assemble piece of furniture or child’s toy together without reading the instruction book? Stressful, huh? Well, life is the same way. God has given us a manual to follow – things to do and things not to do. The problem is – we tend to ignore the Do Not’s. Oh, we know the Ten Commandments, but we don’t give much attention to His other instructions.
That includes these seven deadly emotional sins.
Fear negates faith. It declares that the problem is bigger than God. Is that possible? The Bible says He is the Most High – nothing is bigger or higher than God. Fear is always false – a lie told by the devil to weaken your faith and short-circuit your success. Fear is a bully – all bluff and noise, designed to distract you so you forget just how powerful you are as God’s child and a joint heir with Jesus.
The solution: Fear not, believe only (Luke 8:50). Fear must be replaced by faith – faith in God’s promises and in His love for you. Faith comes from knowing and understanding those promises. Study and meditate on pertinent Bible verses until your faith overpowers the fear. ‘Believe only’ is an act of your will, not your emotions. You don’t have to listen to those negative thoughts. Replace fear with positive affirmations of faith. Stay with it until you know the fear is gone.
Anger, wrath, hatred, hostility and animosity are varying degrees of selfish displeasure. It is an emotional reaction to feeling wounded (emotionally, mentally, physically) or threatened in some way. You resort to anger as a way to repay the hurt or insult. The problem with anger (and most negative emotions) is that it hurts you more than the target of your anger. It creates stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, and a host of physical and mental problems. The longer you are angry, the more damage it does to you – not the other person.
The solution: Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself… (Ps. 37:8). The Bible declares that God is merciful. When we think about His mercy and forgiveness, should we – can we – do less? Follow His example. Set aside your selfish feelings (yes, you can). Instead, show mercy and compassion. Like fear, anger is an emotional choice. Decide to show mercy and release the anger and turmoil. When angry feelings invade your mind, tell yourself, “I have decided not to be mad about that anymore. I choose peace.” Don’t nurse your hurts. The more consistent you are about your choice, the sooner those negative feelings will leave.
Unforgiveness is a by-product of anger and selfishness – and it accomplishes absolutely nothing! The other person probably doesn’t even know you are hurt or angry. In fact, unforgiveness destroys your peace and blocks your prayers. Mark 11:23-26 explains that you can have whatever you say, but the next instruction is when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any.
The solution: Forgive. Plain and simple. God forgives us for all of our sins and faults. His example is our commandment. How many times in the New Testament did Jesus say “Thy sins are forgiven” just before the petitioner received whatever he prayed and hoped for? Forgiveness is the key to peace of mind. It is a choice you make. Decide to forgive. It may take awhile for your emotions to agree with your decision, but don’t quit. One of the last things Jesus prayed on the cross for God to forgive his tormentors. Should you do less?
Greed is idolatry (Col. 3:5) and leads to all sorts of selfishness and sin. It is the root cause of theft, miserliness, stinginess and covetousness. It is rooted in fear, saying “I have to take care of myself and get all I can.” A greedy heart has forgotten God’s promises of prosperity. Instead of a giving heart, greed closes its fist, ignoring the needs of others.
The solution: Give it away! Find ways to be a blessing. Remember the man who came to Jesus and asked, “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16) Jesus told him to sell what he had and give to the poor. You don’t have to sell everything (Jesus didn’t say all) but that young man didn’t want to part with any of it. Open your hand and heart, trusting God to take care of you. The entire universe is based on the principle of seedtime and harvest, sowing and reaping. The more you give and share, the more you will receive. Remember, God loves a cheerful giver.
Pride has an excessively high opinion of oneself. It often disguises itself as false humility. “Oh, it’s OK, it was really nothing,” while inside you are jumping up and down, celebrating your accomplishment. Pride is deceived by a false sense of power (Jer. 49:16; Ob. 1:3). It says, “I can handle this problem myself. I don’t need to bother anybody (including God) with it.” Pride says, “I can figure it out. I don’t need to ask for help.” Pride examines other people and finds them lacking in some way, even as it ‘prides’ itself on how great you are and how well you are doing.
The solution: Pride is different than understanding your worth and value. Everyone has certain talents and abilities given by God. You can enjoy those abilities and use them in service to others, but acknowledge their Source. Even Jesus acknowledged that He could do nothing without the Father.
God clearly told us to cast all our care on Him because He cares for us. He wants us to need Him, to trust Him for all of our needs and desires. Be conscious that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… (James 1:17). No matter what you need or want, God is the Creator. Whatever you can accomplish is only by His grace, mercy and blessing. Acknowledge Him with a grateful, humble heart.
Also called covetousness, envy wants what everyone else has. When someone has been blessed with something you wanted, can you honestly be happy for them? Envy ignores God’s promises of abundance for all His children. Instead, it says, “I deserve that. Why should they have it and not me?” Envy is often spiteful or catty and leads to frustration, depression or anger. At its worst, it prompts you to try to steal or destroy the coveted thing.
The solution: Trust God to meet all your needs (Phil 4:19). Envy forgets that God has a good plan for you, too. He has blessings in abundance, ready and waiting. Feed yourself on His promises until your faith taps into the abundance of heaven – right here on earth! Instead of coveting what you don’t have, be grateful for all you do have. Gratitude touches the heart of God and erases those feelings of envy and lack.
Aah. Here’s the root of every kind of emotional, mental and physical sin. When we become so self-centered and selfish that we cannot see another view, a different option or another person’s pain, we have forgotten God and His plan for each of us. We have lost sight of the ‘blessing exchange’. You give to others and someone else gives to you. The synergy of combined talents, abilities and effort create the ‘peaceful world’ that God wants us to have. Selfishness voids that peace.
The solution: Honestly examine your motives. Are you considering others’ feelings and needs? God is Love, the Bible says. He created us in His image. It grieves His heart when we forget to walk in love. Are you demanding more of the people around you than they are willing or able to give? Are you withholding favor, mercy, forgiveness and blessing? Ask yourself ‘why?’ Selfishness is the opposite of love and compassion. It is a choice you are making every moment – a choice you can change.
Every one of these seven deadly emotional sins is an example of selfishness – us trying to take care of ourselves. “I hurt. I’m mad. I need to punish someone. I want… I need… “
Become conscious of your motivation. Look to Jesus as your example. He never hurried, always had time for anyone who approached Him. He was full of peace and joy, despite the political and social problems of his day. He offered help in many different ways when the people would receive it (sometimes they didn’t, but that’s a subject for a different article). He was full of compassion – always. He had no concern for His own needs, knowing The Father would take care of Him.
Life is a continual growth process. God expects you to expand your understanding of His Word, act on what you learn, and become more and more like Him. Your commandment is Love – the God-kind of love. If you stay focused on that, and trust God to meet all your needs and cares, the Bible says you will never fail.