Previously, we discussed anxiety and the difficulty of human emotion. Click here to read Part One of Harnessing Emotion.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick… | Jeremiah 17:9
I have seen this verse used to encourage being devoid of emotion. Hold it up against the life of Christ, however, and it carries a different weight.
When faced with people defiling His Father’s temple, Christ could have let His rage take over and given them the old one-two. What He did was radical and emotional, but He was in control. His anger was righteous and righteously handled.
When He realized that a dear friend of His died, He wept. He knew He would raise Lazarus and see him again this side of heaven, yet He wept.
When He faced the cross He was under so much pressure that He sweat drops of blood. For a long time, I thought that this was a metaphor until I discovered that there is a medical condition called hematidrosis. It occurs under extremely rare circumstances, and only when the patient is under incredible amounts of stress or fear. In those moments their sweat contains actual blood. Christ allowed Himself to feel the full extent of fear, to the point of sweating blood.
Considering the above verse, think about what you do when something is sick. You take it to a doctor. You don’t ignore a sickness. You treat it. In His moments of extreme emotion, our Lord took His heart to His Father.
We are never called to be emotionless.
Christ was never emotionless.
This new culture of “no cares given” was never Christ’s way. Through record of the gospels we see that He had the deepest compassion for everyone. Honed emotion has the ability to cultivate sympathy for unbelievers, making us sensitive to their plight. Through it we gain empathy for the struggles of our fellow believers, enabling us to offer them the loving comfort that we received from the Lord.
No matter the disorder or struggle, you are capable of overcoming it, of harnessing it for Him.
“How?” you may ask. That’s rather simple. “…through Him who loved us.” To quote another common verse:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. | Philippians 4:13
Simple, not easy. It is our natural inclination to feel overwhelmed with burden and hold on to that feeling because we define ourselves by it. Thankfully, we have no need to feel this.
It is not our strength, it is His.
A few practical applications:
- When Satan rails against you, when you are overcome with temptation, quote scripture. (Christ’s example: Matthew 4.)
- When you experience a great loss or sadness, don’t bottle it up. Turn to God for answers, for comfort. Let it out. (Christ’s example: John 11:28-35, command: 1 Peter 5:7.)
- When you are petrified with fear, go somewhere quiet and private. Tell God what is truly on your heart. Trust Him, and move forward as it glorifies Him. (Christ’s example: Luke 22:39-44.)
- When you are angry, ask yourself, “Is my anger righteous? Should I turn the other cheek? Is this an affront to me, or to God?” Bring your anger to God, and let Him tell you what to do with it (1 Corinthians 16:14). (Christ’s example: John 2:13-17.)
- When you are bone-achingly weary from serving and fighting the good fight, lay your head down and rest. (Christ’s example: Mark 4:35-41, command: Mark 6:31.)
- When you are anxious, take it to your loving Father in prayer, and leave it there. As a daily challenge, I suggest that you choose one thing that plagues you and make an effort to not worry about it that day.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. | Philippians 4:6-7
Dealing with individual struggles is hard. It becomes a habit to feel and operate alone. Remind yourself, dear friend—
you have the God of the Universe on your side.
He wants to help you. Take your sick and broken heart to our Great Physician. Let Him heal you.
Remember that any diagnosis a doctor may give you, or label society gives you or even one you may give yourself pales in comparison to the label that the Great Physician paid in blood to give you: Child of God.