We left Paul in II Corinthians 1, writing about his feelings. He wrote of a recent time when there was no way out, that his life juices were being squeezed out of him. He wanted his friends in Corinth to know that he had felt that pressured and in such hopelessness. He was not in a good place emotionally and mentally.
Controlling your feelings
He completed his point in v9:"We felt we had received a death sentence, and thought we would die. This (was allowed) to happen so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God (Father), the one who raises the dead."
He wasn't blaming God that He allowed the persecution to come, for persecution went with the call of his life. Persecution is allowed as it was in the life of Jesus. As Jesus said in Mark 13:13, 'You'll be hated in all nations because of me.'
Paul made the choice to view his circumstances as a teaching moment, so that he could decide to trust the One who raises the dead. We too must make that choice, to use whatever life or the devil throw at us as a teaching moment, a step to greater maturity.
Paul faced intense persecution which could have all gone away if he would renounce Jesus. If he had said he wasn't a Christian, that he was returning to his Jewish roots, his life would have returned to that of any normal Jewish man in the first century Roman Empire.
Paul made a choice
A choice to take control of his feelings and thoughts, and started telling himself what he would feel and what he would think. When he decided to trust the Father who had already raised Jesus from the dead, and with whom he knew he would be in heaven, he started down the path towards emotional health.
Culture purposely promotes living by feelings.
Culture purposely promotes emotional decision making. The Bible teaches taking authority over our bodies, our thoughts, and our feelings to serve God. You aren't to live subject to your feelings, they must be subject to you.
Consider the exchange between Jesus and the scribe in Mark 12:29-31, where Jesus answers the question of which commandments are most important:"Hear or Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your strength. This is the greatest commandment. And the second, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
The Greek words for 'heart' is, 'kardias', and means 'thoughts, feelings, the middle part of a person.' The word 'mind' is 'dianoias' and means 'deep thought', 'exercising deep thoughts.'
The word 'soul' is 'psyches' and means 'spirit' or 'breath'. The word strength, which refers to our physical bodies, is 'ischyos' and means 'personal power, effort, force, ability.'
You can see this most important of commandments,
from which every other command is derived, requires our love of the Lord be to such intensity we live by controlling our thoughts and emotions. The command is to love Him with your feelings. Love Him with your thoughts. That is why Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5 which is derived from the greatest command above, and what he had learned as told in chapter 1. In 5:3-6:
"We don't go to war in the flesh, but we war. We bring every argument captive to Christ, pulling down strongholds and anything that exalts itself against what we know in Christ, and bringing captive as a prisoner of war every thought to the obedience of Christ. And being ready to avenge disobedient (thoughts/feelings) once you've come into full obedience."
It is a war Paul said - a war within ourselves. But every Christian must fight and win this war. It is a life-long struggle, but it gets easier, for those little victories that change your thoughts and feelings pile up. Soon you notice you think and feel differently about this and that in your past. You battle and change how you feel about this or that person now in your life.
These victories pile up and a momentum of righteousness and peace starts to be felt and seen in your emotions and thoughts. Soon you are walking in a whole new life of peace with the Father and the Lord.
We bring our feelings and thoughts under control of God's thoughts and feelings for us. He doesn't just love you, He likes you. Every Christian learns to control their thoughts and feelings if they want to grow in Christ.
You cannot walk in Philippians 4:11-13 if you cannot do this:"I have learned in whatever condition I am, how to be independent of the circumstance. I know how to be abased, I know how to abound. I can be hungry, I can be full. In all things I have learned and entered a new dimension, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Paul wrote that 10 years AFTER his 2nd letter to the Corinthians writing of how he once was pressured to the point of death, losing hope of life. But he made a decision in his mind and emotions that he would trust the Father who raises the dead.
There is no other way for a person emotionally or mentally struggling to come out of it.
If a demon is involved, Jesus said to cast out demons. They do the enticing, but each person must take control of his or her own emotions, his or her own feelings, and control them. You are not subject to the enticing, we are told to cast out demons in the name of Jesus. There is no prayer to take demons away; we must obey Jesus for we have been given the authority to command them away from us. It's that simple.
It is a totally new concept for many that the Bible teaches us to control our feelings and thoughts. But those same Christians who say they love God, disobey the most basic and important command:Love the Lord your God with all your thoughts, feelings, deep thoughts, breath and physical strength. We must grow into that.
When Paul wrote Romans 12:1-3 he wrote from personal experience:"Make your bodies a living sacrifice, which is only right, and undergo a metamorphosis in your thinking, and then you'll be able to walk it out, proving the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God."
That metamorphosis - which is the word in the Greek - only happens with efforts to control our feelings and thoughts, and is the only way presented in scripture to change our lives in Christ.
Next week:The world purposely causes an identity crisis, leading to emotional illness. And, what do we do with 'Christians' who say they are g*y?'
Until then, blessings,
http://www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com