God gave you emotions. Part 2
Many have the image that to be a good Christian is related to surrender, relinquish and give up everything including joy, and everything that feels good is bad or a sin.
I must say that in the first 20 years of my life I was actually not sure of whether God wanted me to be happy or not, that I should feel happiness.
There was some talk about suffering for God, and give up things for God. I thought it was very spiritual to not be happy. For instants, I thought it was very spiritual to cry. I assumed that diseases and depression was a part of suffering as a Christian, and that the condemnation and guilt was something that a Christian should have.
But I was wrong!
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John says: Jn. 10:10 (AMP)
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have abundance [to the full, till it overflows]”.
When Jesus talked about the thief here, He is actually referring to religion (the devil’s tool) or the very religious leaders of His day, the Pharisees. He says that religion is something that comes to steal, kill and destroy. The devil loves to make people very religious, for it takes away the life. Jesus came not to give us a religion, but He came to give us life and life in abundance.
There are often two extremes in religious circles when it comes to feelings. One side is where all things pertaining to their Christian life and their relationship with God, is governed by their feelings.
On the other side, people mistakenly believe that if they show any emotion, that it is a sin.
None of these sides have understood emotions correctly, and both sides,( the devil’s strategy) will steal the joy and life. These are the two extreme sides, but you can also find many different degrees of it as well.
Does God want us to show emotions in the church?
In the 80’s and 90’s, the church experienced some charismatic revivals, with a lot of sound and emotion. Many said that it had too much emotion in it, especially when it came to worship.
Religion will often have you to feel sad and serious and eliminate feelings from your experience (relationship) with God.
Many religious, as I have mentioned, whether they call themselves Christians or Buddhists, looks at emotions as something bad or wrong.
I remember asking our staff in Thailand, as most had been raised in Buddhist homes (they are now Christians) about emotion, and if it is something positive or negative. Most of them said that emotions were something negative.
Some will also try and separate God and your everyday life. They think that when we are not talking about God, we can have good feelings and have fun. But when we talk about God, we must all be serious, and have a sad and serious face.
I remember one time I was in a Catholic church to attend a wedding of some friends of mine. When family and friends of the bride and bridegroom came and sat in the church, they talked in a normal voice, but because of the good acoustics, it became a bit loud. The priest came and said: “This is God’s house, so you must not talk so loud.” I believe in respecting God, but to God, it doesn’t really matter whether we talk loud or not.
I think He likes that we are talking with each other, especially in church! I have also been to churches where everyone just whispered to each other before the service starts, as if we were disturbing God when we talk normally.
I believe God love sounds and emotions, just read the Psalms!
2. “Start the music and beat the tambourines; play pleasant music on the harps and the lyres.
3. Blow the trumpet for the festival, when the moon is new and when the moon is full.
4. This is the law in Israel, an order from the God of Jacob”.
They did not beat silently on the drums, or silently blow the trumpet. It was very loud and joyful, and this was still in The Old Testament and under the law. The religious people, of Jesus’ time, required that people should not make sound and be happy and enjoy themselves either. The Pharisees tried to stop Jesus’ disciple from loudly worshiping and proclaiming God’s goodness, and they asked Jesus to rebuke them.
37. “By this time he was coming near the place where the road went down the Mount of Olives. Then the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God for all the miracles they had seen
38. They shouted joyfully, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven’
39. Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell your disciples to be quiet’
40. Jesus replied, ‘I can guarantee that if they are quiet, the stones will cry out’.”
The devil does not want you to remember what Jesus has done for you, he doesn’t want you to rejoice in the life that Jesus has given you!
It says in Ps. 103:1-3;
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
It’s amazing how religion tries to change the way we feel. God has created us with emotions, and He wants us to feel good! This is not what religion tries to tell you. It tells you that what feels good is wrong. ”You encourage us to sin now Tore.” You might say? No, I’m not talking about following our feelings, and that we can go by what feels good in the moment, this is not what I’m saying! But God does want us to feel good. He wants us to have feelings of joy, peace, hope, love and so on.
Joy and peace are feelings, and God want us to have them, for He created us with them; or are you one of those faith theologians who say that if you are not glad and happy, you are not a good Christian, and that you have a lot of unbelief?; No I’m not! Jesus had feelings of depression and of deep anxiety in the garden of Gethsemane, and if it was a sin to have these emotions, Jesus would have been sinning. I will talk more about this later. It is a fact that in this world you’ll encounter problems and things that will try to make you depressed, but we do not need to loose our joy and peace.
Jesus said to his disciples in
Jn.16:33; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world
So He says we will have anxiety and troubles; it means that problems will come our way. But in this context , Jesus also speaks of His joy and peace. So what is Jesus saying here? He says that we can have His joy and peace even if we have problems. Troubles or problems are caused by our own sins, the sins of others or simply because we live in a fallen world. There is also something that you need to understand, and that is, that no matter how hard you try, you will never succeed in living a 100% perfect life, the Pharisees were an example of that. You will fall into sin, and its consequences are that negative things may come your way. But the good news is that we have a person who conquered the power of sin, so that if we sin, we can again receive His forgiveness and find peace and joy again.
1John 2:1-2 (NKJV)
1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
The good news that the Christian message brings is; freedom from judgment, guilt and shame.
It is sad and tragic that religion has distorted it, and it is actually many of these feelings that many people struggle with after they become Christians.
Religion often brings feelings of condemnation, guilt, shame, and a picture of an “Angry God”, a God who comes to punish you, and this again cause people to rebel or want to eliminate God in their lives. This world has distorted this thing with feelings, either through religion or by trying to eliminate God.
Those who want to eliminate God are trying to find peace and joy by following their emotions and desires, but that will never happen. It is when we choose to believe and trust the truth that the real joy and peace will come.