Harness the Emotions

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you…

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” James 4:1-10,13-15

So many emotions come in to play every day, enriching life but also wreaking havoc with mental fortitude and disciplines. They are given to add color to love, and zeal, but they need harnessing and tenacious superintendance. God made and has given passion, attraction, anger and jealousy for righteous purposes, but when we let them assume control they preempt the best of us, sully relationships, and cause us to sin.

Any emotion can be steered for good or destruction. Warring passions and affection for the world should signal danger, but zest for living and selfless love and can beautifully enrich our days. Yielding to the Lord at day’s beginning does much for smooth bridling of passions and tongues through the hours. The moment we sense a flare of greed, rise of sultry attraction, or boiling selfish reaction to circumstance, let the Spirit check halt and redirect us toward godly sorrow, a rending of heart, and drawing near to God. Surely He harnesses and purifies desire as we submit to His loving, merciful control.

How aware of and sensitive are we to our motives and impulses? How will we utilize emotion for ruthless putting away of sin and tenacious pursuit of righteousness? Would we deliberately trust God’s grace to channel our affections toward Him, His holiness and righteousness? What self-drive and wayward emotion need we surrender to humble ourselves and trust His lead?

Lord, take control of and cleanse my deepest passions, that my every emotion be employed for others’ good and Your glory.

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