Emotions may easily take control of our lives, if we are not careful. In the current global context, where fear, worry and uncertainty reign, it is very easy to fall prey to negative emotions. God created emotions so that as we live in these physical bodies we are able to relate the environment, to enjoy what is beautiful and beneficial for us, to express our delight when we like something, but also to avoid what it can hurt us.
The level of sin around us has reached unimaginable levels, evil is called good while good is blasphemed, and as a result, emotions had become greatly affected, leading to widespread depression and a large number of other mental illnesses. Statistics show that depression is one of the most widespread diseases of the 21st century, affecting many more people, including Christians, than in previous centuries. Whenever hopelessness and depression set in, a person loses motivation to get out of bed and be active and responsible.
But God created us to enjoy life while living in these bodies as we prepare for heaven and has a wonderful plan for each of us. God created us out of love and wants us to live in a close, loving relationship with Him both here on Earth and in the perfect heaven for all eternity. In John 14:2b-3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” And the following verses show how important it is who we choose to follow:
Joy, fear, anger, sadness, surprise, pleasure, disgust and shame are the main emotions, from which all other human feelings derive. God's character includes emotions, too and we find them listed in Galatians 5: 22b-23a as the fruit of the Holy Spirit: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
If we choose our lives led by the Holy Spirit, in total surrender and obedience to God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself more and more in us and will change our character. We will become better, calmer, more loving, more patient. We will smile more and overcome difficulties more easily. I know from my own experience, as well as from those I have ministered to over the years, that these are the result of being born again.
What we hear and see has a great impact on our thoughts, emotions and actions. If we do not guard the "doors" of our heart and mind, we will suffer. The distorted information in the media, the panic and worries of those around us, the rules that are imposed on us, the emotional and spiritual atmosphere in public places that we cannot avoid, can make us fear and lose our peace.
It is up to us to not allow negative emotions to take control but rather to proclaim the truth of God’s Word over everything that affects us. We cannot change circumstances, but we can change how we react to what is happening to us. Let us not forget that "our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
The fear of losing something may have an effect on us, only if we love that something. If we love Jesus more than life and more than anyone or anything, we will not be afraid of what terrifies our fellow men. For the born-again Christian, physical death means only instantaneous moving to heaven, where we will be with our Lord forever. I am not saying to be unwise and not take care of our physical bodies, but we can be responsible and live from a position of victory, trusting that our Lord loves us more than we can love ourselves and that He will not allow anything to happen that may separate us from Him, and miss heaven. No suffering on this earth can be compared to spending eternity in hell, so let us choose to live a life of obedience to the Lord, fulfilling His will, and we can be sure that no one and nothing can snatch us from the hand of our Lord (John 10: 28-29).
Let us spend as much time as possible praising the Lord, studying and meditating on Scripture, so that we may know who we are and what we have in Jesus as well as what God's will is. We do ourselves the greatest favor if we renounce living our lives led by our flesh and instead seeking to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling God's plan for each of us. Only by living this way can we reign in life and be forever in His presence.
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Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș share thoughts about the end times and life as a Christian in the world we live in today.