Church of God, New World Ministries

How You Can Control Your Emotions

Are you emotionally stable? If you are able to completely control your emotions, you are a rare person!

In our rapid-pace modern society, the high pitch of “living on the run” has played havoc with the emotions of the entire nation! As a result of a combined number of influences and present day world affairs, the average individual finds himself faced with seemingly insurmountable emotional problems.

Our newspapers and television report to us daily the gruesome, breath-catching incidents which portray a nation out of control, a people almost driven mad from devices of their own making!

Actually, world leaders, politicians, advertisers and movie producers know very well that most people are ruled almost wholly by their emotions. They make very good use of that knowledge.

When the foreign policy of a nation demands war with another nation to achieve its ends, the propaganda experts immediately turn out patriotic movies, magazine stories and books, only the pictures of real expediency are shown in newsreels and magazines, and the public is told exactly what the experts decide. This is all a cleverly calculated plan on the part of a nation to induce its people to get wholeheartedly behind the aspirations of the government to develop a “flag-waving” attitude of patriotism! World leaders know this, and make good use of it!

The advertisers are especially clever manipulators of the emotions of the unsuspecting, gullible public! Knowing that most people buy a product on the “spur of the moment,” just on impulse, the advertisers’ aim is to somehow appeal to these impulses! The typical monkey wrench advertised by a buxom, scantily-clad young woman is a good illustration. The pleasure-mad sensuality of our modern living has led the world on a moral land-side of degeneracy where the word “sex” must be utilized if the eyes of John Q. Public are to be attracted to anything.

It is difficult to buy a magazine without a gaudily emblazoned announcement of an article dealing with some special facet of sex within its covers. In the last few years, a veritable flood of little pocket magazines loudly flaunting sex, and little else, has jammed the newsstands.

A cursory examination of our motion picture industry should convince even the most dubious of their wholesale effect on our emotions! The average individual viewing the unfolding of a story on the glittering screen is completely yielded to his emotions. He is seeking to relax, to be entertained, not to think constructively, to argue, or to investigate the reasons behind the plot of the story. Therefore, it is a simple matter for the producers of the motion picture to keep his emotions in rapt attention. From deep suspense to fright, and then a few minutes of serene pleasantness, to be suddenly dashed to the dismal depths of despair, swept up again to buoyant heights of joy and laughter, he anxiously identifies himself with the hero. Slugging his way through an angry mob, he feels the delicious vicarious feeling of his knuckles pounding the blubbery face of the ugly leader into unrecognition. And so as his emotions are running riot, the only control of emotions is in the film itself, since the viewer has lost his own.

Take a look at national crime rates! Especially in the United States, crime directly attributive to unbridled emotional outbursts has risen sharply. It is a common occurrence to read of brutal murders as a result of arguments in a home! Our large cities especially are plagued with sudden outbursts of violence as a result of pent-up emotions exploding in incontrollable passion! But why?

The answer is quite simple. Because the average individual has never learned to hold his impulses, his emotions in check! Our helter-skelter search for the physically and emotionally satisfying has led us up a box canyon of emotional turmoil and instability! If there could be only one major situation to serve as a graphic illustration of that fact, it is our national divorce rate!

People are not happy! Our homes are not happy, and, when the basic institution of any society, the home, is unhappy, the entire nation is in danger.

You were a little baby once! When you were born you knew exactly nothing! Everything you have in your mind at this precise moment has come into your mind since the time of your birth.

Babies are ruled almost entirely by emotion. As the little child grows and learns by associating certain smells, sounds, feelings, and tastes, his mind begins to broaden through experience. However, the child is ruled by the passion of the moment! Hungry? He cries! Wet? He cries! Happy? He laughs!

And so – in the simple world of experience and emotional reaction - a little human being begins to develop. You, too, were a squalling little baby once, now grown into adulthood. However, most people have never completely grown up!

We mature physically first and then, finally, most people mature mentally. But only comparatively few people. It seems few ever mature emotionally or spiritually! The modern child-rearing methods, and the progressive education being disseminated in our schools, follow the policy of “non-restraint” where emotions are concerned. Emotions, they reason, are much like air in a bottle! The more you compress the air in the bottle, the more liable the bottle is to break. Therefore, reason the learned doctors of psychology, every kicking, screaming uncontrollable tantrum a child stages is allowing a certain intrinsic amount of that “pent-up” pressure to escape, leaving less tension, and less emotion in the bottle!

The total fallacy and empty ridiculousness of such theories should be apparent to anyone! Emotions do not have intrinsic value, but are mental reactions of habit. A rebellious, emotionally unstable child that has learned the habit of rampant emotional outbursts, and, rather than lessening with each tantrum, the pressures of wild, uninhibited emotions are built up by habit! A good example of this is the riots taking place in London, England at this very moment.

Through the period of adolescence, the story is pretty much the same. The corner drug store, the friends you had, the movies you saw and the car you had, all were governed by impulse, in most cases, and without real mind control. Our modern teen-agers are the product of the war years when the “lid was off” nearly everything when it came to morals and social standards. The result is self-evident. Our American teen-agers present one of the biggest national scandals that has ever confronted a nation! Over one half of all auto thefts and other major crimes in recent years were committed by mixed-up, restless, thrill-seeking, emotionally unstable teen-agers under the age of eighteen!

This is an abomination in the sight of God, who is going to indict a whole nation for its crimes against its own children! Emotional stability is not a natural result of adulthood! The mind does not just “naturally” take control of the emotions of the average human being. Properly controlled emotions, and a level-headed, sound-minded approach to life must be taught and is therefore acquired, not inherited!

In this 21st century, religious revivals reveal the temporary emotional “conversion” of thousands of people. The fruits of these “conversions” as they were, in the overwhelming majority, produced nothing but a fleeting, passing emotional experience, and not the true change of life that must take place in a truly repentant child of God!

In his inspired sermon on the Day of Pentecost, 31 A.D., Peter gave what might be called God’s “blueprint” for salvation. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). To repent means to change! Paul explained this change is not only a repentant attitude of heart and mind, but is also an entirely different nature, a different way of life! Paul stated, “That you put off concerning the former conversation (properly translated ‘conduct’) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph. 4:22-23)!

Paul went on to show this “putting off” of the old man was a change, a total about face from the habits, the customs, the entire way of doing things of the former self! He called it a total change in character, or a creating of a different type of person. “And, that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

People today have been misled to believe “religion” in this modern age is merely a sentiment of the emotions! Like the never-ending motion of a pendulum, men go from one extreme to another. Today they lose themselves in a vague, hazy, nebulous dream of some mythical God who isn’t very real to them at all, and just believe repentance and Christianity to be some unclear feeling of sentiment. They are swept along on the crest of religious thrills to reach out for some kind of satiation for their emotional lack into a form of religion that is completely of the emotions, and little else! It is not a true conversion!

Peter explained in Acts 2:38 the true surrender to God in complete humility and repentance must be followed up by obedience to God in being baptized. God then promises His Holy Spirit, but only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32)! The true conversion must be a combined experience of the emotions and also of the mind. First, a true repentance means being deeply sorry for past sins, and realizing the tremendous price that was paid, coming to truly abhor the self (Job 42:6); and second, a decision with the mind and the will to obey God. After all, Jesus Christ Himself demands that every true Christian “live by every word of God,” not just go through a temporary emotional experience (Matt. 4:4)! “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments” said Christ (Matt. 19:17)!

The Devil appealed to Christ’s emotions! First, to His office, that of Very God in the flesh, and second, to His extreme, near-starving hunger that gnawed within Him! Christ could have acted on impulse, as most human beings would have done. Jesus could have let vanity drive Him to do just as Satan had proposed! But did He? Not at all!

Jesus Christ controlled His impulses, He mastered His emotions, and with His mind, motivated by His will power, He said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (v. 4)!

Satan continued to play on Jesus’ emotions, always appealing to the vanity to come to the fore, to Christ’s authority and office. Jesus withstood every single temptation through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, and by setting His will to master Himself, to resist acting on impulse, upon a sudden emotional suggestion! Christ finally gave a command; “Get thee hence, Satan” (v. 10)! And Satan was defeated. He was defeated by the superior mind, the power and overwhelming authority of Jesus Christ!

Satan wasn’t through with Jesus Christ yet, all during Jesus’ earthly life, Satan worked on the emotions of the Jews in Palestine to kill Him! Finally, when God allowed it, Satan utilized his most effective weapon to finally bring about the horrible torture and death of Christ – RAMPANT EMOTIONS!

Notice, in the account of the crucifixion of Christ in Matthew’s gospel, the people were gathered together in a mob against Christ! Have you ever seen a mob of people, angry, shouting, marching against the object of their hatred? Have you really?

Do you believe such mobs are using their minds, or just raw, uncontrolled, violent emotions? Just such a crowd of unbridled hatred was unleashed against Christ; Pilate knew that “for envy they had delivered Him (Matt. 27:18). After the Governor had determined, the mob wanted Barabbas to be released, instead of Christ, Pilate asked them, “what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ” (v.22). And in their surging, reckless abandon to passionate hate, they screamed out, “Let Him be crucified!” The governor tried to reason with them, he appealed to their minds, to their logic. He asked, “Why? What evil has He done” (v. 23)?

But did the wildly shouting mob stop to use their minds? Did they have control of their emotions? NO! “They cried out the more, saying, let Him be crucified” (v. 23)! And Satan had succeeded in his plot against the life of Christ. However, he never could have succeeded, had it not been God’s express will that Jesus Christ die at that precise time for the sins of the world! God permitted Satan, however, to sway the emotions of the mob in order to murder God’s own Son!

Untold suffering and mental anguish exists in literally hundreds of thousands of homes right now because of the lack of emotional stability and control! What about your home? Do you always control yourself just the way you would like to? Are you always in complete mastery of yourself?

The natural emotions God has built in the human being are not wrong in themselves, but, as in all things, they can be put to a wrong use! Jesus Christ had emotion! He was human as you are human, and as such He possessed the same human nature which He had to overcome. Christ learned obedience by the things he suffered (Heb. 5:8).He cried out with tears to God during His earthly life in order to succeed in mastering Himself, and finally qualifying as our coming King and World Ruler (Heb. 5:7)!

Jesus was deeply moved at the grave of Lazarus when He saw the total lack of faith in His most intimate friends! (John 11:35). And Jesus wept. He displayed a great deal of emotion over the prophesied destruction of heedless Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37). And He was moved with righteous anger and indignation against the hypocritical Pharisees on many occasions! (See Matt. 23rd chapter, John 8:33-59, Mark 3:1-5).

God commands His servants to grow in grace and knowledge (II Peter 3:18) until they can reach stability, maturity, and use their emotions properly! “But strong meat (spiritual truth) belongs to them that are full of age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

The very basis of all human nature, and therefore human emotions, is vanity! “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). The vanity in human nature is the source of the greed, and of the emotions of jealousy, bitterness, and hatred. Paul describes the fruit of these emotions as works of the flesh! (Gal. 5:19-21.)

Your natural human mind lusts to envy others (James 4:5) and is contrary to sound-minded emotional control. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would” (Gal. 5:17). Paul was further inspired to write to us, “the carnal mind (the natural fleshly mind) is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).

The carnal mind, then, is motivated by vanity and the lusts of the flesh, and is contrary to God’s law, which is the channel through which God’s love flows. To remain carnal minded is to remain on the outside, looking in, for “except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3); and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). To be without the Spirit of God is to be carnal minded and the carnal mind is just naturally emotionally immature!

True emotional maturity, then, can come only through God’s Holy Spirit! That is exactly what your Bible teaches! “For God has not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (or a sane mind) II Tim. 1:7. Any mind that does not have God’s Spirit is an unsound mind, a mind that is not spiritually sane! True sound mindedness can come only through obedience to God’s perfect laws (Act 5:32)!

Blinded mankind, racing toward his own destruction in this present chaotic world, has snatched love from its lofty pinnacle of perfection and thrown it down into a fetid mire of sensuality, physical attraction and lust! Love, as it is portrayed today through the movies, TV and advertising, is nothing more than the animal-like passion that God condemns and labeled as lust, which breaks His law! The very fact that countless marriages have been predicated upon lust instead of love is a fundamental source of our troubles!

People just don’t seem to know what love really is today. I realize people think they know, but do they really? Books have been written on the subject, countless definitions and poems have been published, trying to express to human minds the true meaning of love. “Love,” according to the first definition in Webster’s Dictionary, is “a strong or passionate affection for a person of the opposite sex.” And so men believe love to be only of the emotions, a passion, a feeling, a sentiment! But is it?

Do you know what the Bible definition of love is? God tells you what it is in Romans 13:10, where He says: “Love works no ill to his neighbor; therefore Love is the fulfilling of the law!” Love is keeping of God’s Ten Commandments!

But the kind of love that enables you to keep His perfect law, which tells you how to show love toward your neighbor, and toward your Creator, is the love of God, not a sensual, fleshly, passionate human love! For the “love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy spirit, which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5). And what is the Bible definition of the love of God?

“This is the love of God that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3). Love, then, is not just a physical emotion, but is an all-inclusive attitude of total servitude and obedience toward God first, and love toward your neighbor second! Once we begin producing the love of God in our lives we will demonstrate the ability to control our emotions!

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