Putting Emotions in Their Place

Devotionals from Leslie Ludy and the Set Apart Girl Team

Putting Emotions in Their Place

by Leslie Ludy | October 25, 2010

As American Christian women, we hear lots of messages today about the importance of our heart – messages that put great emphasis upon our feelings, our needs, our uniqueness, and our desires. We are often led to believe that it’s okay for us to build everything around our emotions and our wants.“Your heart is good,” is the message of one popular Christian book. “By living out your desires and dreams, you bring glory to your Creator.”

But is our heart really good? Should our own feelings and dreams and desires and emotions be nurtured and coddled the way American Christianity prescribes? I believe that our emotions and desires certainly can be instruments of God to help direct our lives, but only when they are fully yielded to Him.

Most of us never truly die to self – we never really walk through the painful process of laying every hope, dream, and wish of our heart upon the altar before our King, or of letting our identity become swallowed up in Him. And as a result, our emotions, personality, and desires quickly take over and control us, hollering and bellowing and clamoring for us to build our lives around them. So we start dating self-focused, worldly guys because we are following our heart’s desire for companionship. We start flirting with available men because we are controlled by the emotional need for earthly romance. We begin dressing seductively because of our inward longing to be found beautiful by a guy. And we forsake a life of total abandonment and service to Christ for a comfortable life of pleasure because our feelings and desires are telling us it is the only way to be happy.

Emotions must become subservient to the Spirit of God – to His will, His agenda, His purpose, and His direction. The vast majority of us have become enslaved to our own feelings rather than bondservants of Jesus Christ. We should never make decisions based upon what we feel like doing – but on what our Lord is asking of us. Loving Him is first an act of the will, a choice to put Him first – no matter what our feelings tell us. Once we learn to love Him with our will, our emotions and feelings naturally follow suit, and it becomes our greatest delight to give our lives wholly to Him. As the Psalmist said, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8).*