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We were created as emotional human beings, and our emotions affect us in countless ways. They certainly affect us in our thoughts. For example, have you ever tried to fall asleep when you were upset? Instead of drifting peacefully off to sleep, your mind races 90 miles per minute as you toss and turn late into the night until you finally fall asleep. To make matters worse, you often awake with the same thought that caused you to be upset.

Have you ever waited outside an office for an interview with your heart pounding wildly, perspiration on your brow, and your mouth bone-dry? Have you ever become so upset or angry with another person that you couldn’t think what to say? Emotions may arise from external circumstances, or they may be triggered from within by our thoughts.

With regard to emotions, the Bible teaches us “to not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” It also teaches that “any emotion such as happiness, sorrow or worry should be brought in prayer to God.”

Emotions can be experienced as both pleasant and painful. We automatically associate pleasant feelings with positive emotions, and painful feelings with negative. Feelings also can be a signal of impending danger, or a warning that something is wrong. But emotions have gotten a bad name with some because they can be unreliable, inconsistent, and difficult to understand. They do not always make sense. In themselves, emotions are not good or bad, right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy. They simply are. It’s the way we learn to deal with our emotions that causes us problems.

Emotional maturity involves deciding how we choose to express the feelings we experience. The best place to start in looking at our emotions is where the Bible starts in the creation of all humanity. When God made us in his image, he gave us a mind, a will, and emotions. Our mind gives us the ability to think. Our emotions provide us with the ability to feel and our will allows us the opportunity to choose. Philosopher Dallas Willard said that “feelings are a primary blessing and a primary problem for human life. We cannot live without them, and we can hardly live with them.” Remember that positive emotions move us and we enjoy them. They give us a sense of being alive. Without them, we have little interest in things. So Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Dr. Walter Ghosten