Emotions 

Psalms 4:4 
“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.”

As A child, I spent a lot of time on the ocean. My dad loved sailing and we would spend time every summer living on the boat. I can remember times when the seas were so rough that we had to put anything breakable on the floor of the cabin, so it would not be knocked down and broken. In seas like that, it became very difficult to walk. I can remember grabbing hold of anything solid to keep me from falling overboard. When we reached the shore, even the solid ground seemed to move under my feet. Emotions are like that. They often seem like a turbulent sea; when we let them control us, we find that life is a pretty unstable place.

In this Psalm, David is facing things that would certainly impact his emotions. While he does not divulge a lot of detail, we know that his life was constantly being threatened. There were people who wanted to kill him, keep him from the throne, or take the throne from him. In the midst of that kind of conflict, David takes a moment to exhort us regarding emotions.

“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.”

David states we can be angry and not sin. That means at least two things. One, there is an anger that is righteous. There are certain things that, if we are a child of God, must anger us. If we look at the rise of ungodliness around us, and are not effected emotionally, we need to check our spiritual pulse and be sure we truly are born again. But there is a second, more practical truth here. Anger is not sin; anger is an emotion. Like all emotions, when they rise up within us, we have a choice to make. Do we allow our emotions, or a force greater than our emotions, to control us?

In Galatians 5, Paul contrasts living in the Spirit with living after the flesh.

“Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.”

Walking in the Spirit means we are allowing ourselves to be influenced by the Word of God, rather than by our emotions. The Holy Spirit wields the Word of God like a sword, revealing how God would have us react. At that moment, we are left with a choice, will we give in to our emotions and react in a sinful manner, or will we succumb to the work of the Spirit, and react in a godly way? David goes on to give us his secret on how not to give in to the flesh, he says, “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” In other words, when our emotions begin to rage, whether anger, fear, jealousy, anxiety or any other wave of emotion, we must place our attention upon the Lord. We must seek Him for the strength to behave in a way that is pleasing to Him, and ultimately beneficial to the circumstances. Don’t live after the flesh. Don’t let your emotions be the driving force in your life. Allow the Spirit of God to use the Word of God to direct you, even when your emotions are like a turbulent sea.

Pastor Jim

 

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