Surrendering Our Emotions to God
A devotional by Monique Anderson
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
– Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV)
When it comes to relationships in the natural, we depend heavily on our feelings.
We rely on how a person makes us feel to determine how good or bad the relationship is. If the person gives us butterflies, makes us feel good, or comfortable, or safe then we decide that this is a good relationship, and this person cares about us. Being human beings of this world, we are naturally led by our feelings. But as we know, this is a fallen world. So are our feelings reliable leaders for our lives?
Having emotions, or even being emotional isn’t necessarily a bad thing. God gave us different emotions for a reason. He wants us to feel joy, happiness, excitement, and love. At the same time we also have to go through feelings of sadness, sorrow, grief, and anger. It is not what we feel that causes a problem, it’s how we respond to those feelings that can be dangerous. The way that we respond to our emotions can either lead to healing and peace, or brokenness and conflict.
The Bible provides several examples of those who mishandled their emotions. Below are some examples (from books in the Bible) of where these people’s misguided feelings led them.
Example #1: Anger. In Genesis, Cain killed his brother because of uncontrolled anger and jealousy in his heart.
Example #2: Fear. In Genesis, Abraham lied to Abimelech about Sarah because he was afraid of losing his life.
Example #3: Lust. In 2 Samuel, David was led by lust and committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Example #4: Guilt. Judas killed himself because of the guilt he felt after betraying Jesus.
Letting our emotions take control of our decisions leads to bad choices and puts a wedge between you and your relationship with God.
I am guilty of frequently using the phrase “I don’t feel like it” whenever it comes to things that I need to be doing; specifically, the things that God instructs me to do. Instead of prioritizing my time for the work that He has trusted me with, I instead succumb to my feelings and my mood. The time that should be delegated to writing or studying God’s Word (The Holy Bible), gets overthrown by how I feel at that moment.
I realized that this was starting to put a strain on my relationship with God. I am not serving Him well when my emotions led me away from Him. Unlike the relationships we are used to in the natural, me relying on my feelings does not strengthen my relationship with God. I am learning to detach from my feelings and align myself to the Holy Spirit.
This is how our relationship with God was intended to be. We are to walk with God through life and use His Spirit as our helper and guide. John 14:26 (ESV) tells us: “But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
He is who we should rely on. The Holy Spirit can’t lie nor lead us astray … but our feelings? Our feelings will send us on an emotional rollercoaster, tossing us to and from. Our feelings change so frequently depending on our circumstances or mood. They are fickle and unreliable. So how can we allow the instability of our emotions to be the dictator of our lives? How can we make decisions based on feelings instead of God’s truth?
When we rely on our emotions more than the Holy Spirit, our emotions become our idol. We give into them. We obey them. They run our lives. We even allow our feelings to determine how much God loves us. When we don’t feel God’s presence, we think He has abandoned us. When we don’t feel the Holy Spirit when we pray or worship, we think God is not listening or paying attention to us. We are putting God in a box of how we think He should express his love for us.
We need to remember God is always present whether you feel Him or not. Don’t become so reliant on the “feeling” of God that you walk away from Him when He has actually never left your side.
So how can we respond well to our emotions?
We give them to God. We lay them at His feet. We surrender to Him everything inside of us that does not align with His character. We ask Him, “Why am I feeling this way?” Ask God, “What do these feelings really mean?” He will lead you in how to respond well. In our relationship with God, it is better to be emotionally detached than emotionally driven.
Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, help us in detaching our emotions from our relationship with you. Help us to rely solely on the Holy Spirit to lead us in making the right decisions for our lives. I pray we no longer allow feelings to dictate how you love us. Give us the strength to not succumb to our feelings and make them idols. Holy Spirit, prompt us to follow your lead and teach us how to not follow our emotions. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
End note from Monique: I would like to recommend the following book by Peter Scazzero as a resource for remaining emotionally healthy in your Christian walk, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It's Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature.
Monique M. Anderson is a writer, wife, and bonus mom to a 14 year old. She just recently unleashed her always present yet hidden talent of writing to the masses. She was born and raised in Mount Vernon, NY where she still resides, and serves on the prayer team of her church The Gathering Harlem.
Monique always felt like God was chasing after her, but never felt the need to surrender. Until that is when life started veering left, and she no longer wanted to steer so she finally gave Jesus the wheel. After forming her relationship with God she always felt compelled to share the revelations that the Word gave to her. She always felt the Holy Spirit prompting her to write, but was afraid of what people might think. So her writing started in her journal. The journal turned into a book, and the book into a blog.
Slowly but surely God’s love started to cast out all fear. She started to consistently update her bi- weekly blog called “Yours Truly, Moe.” Her obedience led to further revelation. God revealed to her that He would use her to help others along their walk the same way God helped her along hers. Since Monique did not grow up in church she always felt intimidated by the Christian life. She thought that she would be losing so much of herself, not realizing that she would actually find her TRUE self.
Since God has shown her who He really created her to be, she now feels it is her life’s work to help those that are taking their first baby steps in this walk with Christ. She is doing so through her blog, and soon to be published book. Monique is excited to extend her reach to podcasts and speaking engagements in the near future.
Her blog is the stepping stone to fulfilling the vision God gave to her – “Sharing God’s revelations so we can all reflect his image and fulfill his purpose.”
Connect with Monique: