Summary: God calls us to learn to manage our emotions rather than having them manage us.
In Paul’s day, folks thought with their hearts & felt with their gut. This is where we get terms like “gut feeling.” So when he says “their god is their stomach,” he’s says the problem is being led by their emotions.
“In the end they will be destroyed. Their own emotions are their god, and they take pride in the shameful things they do. Their minds are set on worldly things.” - Philippians 3:19 (GW)
As Christ followers, we are to let God transform us into His likeness. If that is to happen, we must recognize the need to manage our emotions rather than letting them manage us. Before we think about how we deal with how we feel, let’s go over a couple of facts about emotions.
Our God is emotional. He feels joy, love, grief; and hates sin. Part of why we have emotions is we were made in His image (Genesis 1:26).
Our emotions are a gift from God. Emotions make us human. If we didn’t have emotions we’d be robots. It’s our emotions that allow us to be loving; creative; etc. All of the best things we can be as humans.
So, there’s nothing wrong with emotions. God made us with emotions. But with that being said, He also calls us to manage our emotions
instead of our emotions managing us. Why is that?
A. Because my feelings are often unreliable.
How many times have you had a “gut feeling,” done something, and it doesn’t work out? Each of us have. Not everything you feel is right.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” - Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
Feelings can take us the wrong direction, as indicated in our text.
B. Because I don’t want to be manipulated.
If you’re guided by feelings other people can take advantage of you.
Advertisers try to stir your emotions because they know if they can connect with you emotionally, you’re more likely to buy. So the music in the commercial and what is said are designed to elicit an emotional response. Making buying decisions based only on emotions is called impulse buying. Has anybody ever done this? We all have!
“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” - Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
But not only are salesmen out to manipulate you; so is someone far more sinister: Satan. A salesman wants to sell you a product you don’t need; but Satan wants to sell you down the road to destruction. If you don’t know how to manage your emotions you are helpless.
C. Because I want to please God.
If I make all my decisions simply based on how I feel, then I’ve made my feelings my god, and when that happens, I am not pleasing God.
“If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace. Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God’s laws. If we follow our desires, we cannot please God.” - Romans 8:6-8 (CEV)
D. Because I want to succeed in life.