What does the Bible really say about emotion? Are emotions something that is negative or positive? Does God want me to be happy? How can I control my emotions? What connection is there between feelings and fears?
Emotions can be our best friend or our worst enemy. In this teaching, I will give you some truths about feelings and emotions that can help you to manage them in a correct and good way, and how you can feel the way that God wants you to feel.
What I want with this teaching is to show you that the emotions are there and they are given to you by God. You can either lie or ignore them, or you can learn to do something with them. When we understand why God has given us emotions and we can use them properly, we can apply them in a good way. If I can learn how to handle my emotions, I can also deal with life and what comes my way. It is one thing that is certain about emotion: We all have them. But unfortunately there are times when the emotions have us. It is when the emotions have us that they become a problem. Do not be lead by your emotion
Definition of emotions
What are emotions? They are feelings on the inside, which is caused by pain or pleasure, and they will try to move you in a certain direction.
If you have negative feelings, they will try to move you away from God's purpose and destiny for your life. If your feelings of depression, fear, timidity, resentment and so on, control you, they will try to move you away from the will of God and away from having a good relationship with Him.
The devil wants to use your emotions to move you away from having a good relationship with your Heavenly Father.
He wants to tempt you through your feelings so you are moved away from God and his purpose for you. So it is important that you are not under emotions that can move you away from relationship with God, but let the will of God and His Word control your emotions! God also wants to use your emotions to move you towards him. The emotion He uses is love, peace and joy. He also wants to show his love to you, because then you will seek him and start to believe and trust him.
In the beginning of this teaching, I just want to say that: It is not a sin to have negative feelings and emotions, but it is what the negative feelings and emotions can lead you to, that can become a sin. Jesus also had negative emotions, but he was not ruled by them. I will talk more about this towards the end of this teaching.
God has created us with feelings
We are created by God to master life, and not that life should control us.
You can read in Genesis that God gave Adam and Eve the right to rule over the earth and their own lives. We are created in God's image. We were meant to be like Him; a reflection of his power, His love and his authority, and so on. That's why God created us, to be like Him and in fellowship with Him. But you cannot be this if your emotions are in control of your life.
There is a reason why God has given us emotions, but they were not intended as something that should have power over us, but we should be in control over them. God has created us to show compassion and love, but sin, the devil and the curse that Adams brought into this world have in many ways destroyed for these emotions, so negative feelings will harm us and others around us.
God gave Adam and Eve emotions so they could show them to each other and to God, but sin came and something happened. They were disobedient to God because of an emotional response to something that appealed to them. It was attractive, so good, and it emotionally led them to disobey God. These feelings moved them away from fellowship with God and their destiny. They were deceived by their feelings, seduced away from God's intentions for them. Remember that God's will for you is good!
3Jn 1:2; (AMP)
“ Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers”.
Where your mind goes, there goes your life. Your emotions are in your soul. So if you soul is not well, your life will not be. So it is important that you know what's happening in your soul, or in other words, your emotions. It is also important that you know the truth about who God is, and what plans He has for you. What is God's way to make my soul well and prosperous, so that I can feel good?
God has given you power, love and self-control
For many it is a major challenge to control their emotions, but remember that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of self-control, it means you can control them. God's power lives inside of you. In 2 Tim 1:7 it says that he has given you the spirit of power, love and self-control. You can have authority over your feelings!
2Ti 1:7; (AMP)
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity [of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear], but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control”.
Do not believe the devil's lies when he says to you: You will never overcome this, you will always be under these feelings, and this is the way you are. God has given you a power on the inside, which can overcome all the negative things that comes your way. Having control over your emotions is not to say that you cannot have feelings. For you have that! But I am talking about being able to handle feelings in a right way, so that you are in control of your emotions, not the emotions controlling you.
Men, Women, and emotions
Both men and women have the same emotions. Women are more aware of their emotions, but men have just as many emotions as a woman. But men have a tendency to not handle them right. A man will say I am angry when he actually is only hurt, but a woman will say that she is hurt when she is hurt. A woman gives more expression of her feelings; men have a tendency to more easy hide their feelings and carry them along. Although women show their feelings more, men have the same feelings, but they can easily hide them and carry them. When a woman has many feelings, they will talk about them, while men want to keep them inside; this is perhaps one of the reasons why women live longer than men? Men and women express emotions different, but both have them.
What religion has done with emotions
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!
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!
Ps. 81:2-4(GNB) 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.
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.
Lk. 19:37-40(GW) 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; (AMP)
1. [A Psalm] of David. “BLESS [AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise] the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!
2. Bless [affectionately, gratefully praise] the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits--
3. Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases”
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
“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 a testament 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. Many have a picture of a judging God.
I live outside Norway and the Western World, and it can be an advantage sometimes, for I can easily see how Norway and the Western World have changed in recent years. One of the things I've seen is that more and more people rebel against God, and they try to eliminate Him and the Bible as the truth. I have seen a large increase of fear and depression, especially among young people. Many believe that to get Norway and Europe to repent, we must preach the law (The 10 Commandments and morality) to them so that they feel judged and condemned, and then they will turn to God.
We hear some preachers say or express: If you do not repent, God will punish you, or you will perish if you do not repent of your sin. I don’t think preaching the law and the threat of punishment is the right approach to get people to repent. You may have been raised up by: When we feel bad, you will get better and do what is right, but to a large degree, this was not Jesus’ message to the lost, although He did preach The Law to the ‘Religious Leaders” who preached ‘The Law’ to the people (for their own greedy ends), but themselves lived a secret life of sin in their thoughts and judging attitude.
The law can be of help to people who are very self-righteous and think that they never make any mistakes and that they deserve to get to heaven because of their good works, as the Pharisees did. And you can see that Jesus sometimes confronted the Pharisees with the law. But the way Jesus used to get sinners to repent was not condemnation, but it was love and forgiveness. He caused them to feel loved and forgiven not condemned! ‘Can this really be so?’ ‘And do you have scriptures on this?’ You may ask? Yes I do.
The most obvious story is about the woman that was caught in the act of adultery. Let us read what it says here in the Gospel of John, after the Pharisees, who wanted her stoned, had gone away.
10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “ Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “ Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more
(Feel free to read the full story if you are not familiar with it. John 8:1-11)
What did Jesus use as a motivating factor so that this woman should not be sinning again? Was it condemnation? Did He say to her that she should really feel shame and condemnation for what she had done, and if you really show this, then He would forgive her in a few days? No! Jesus forgave her right there, and showed God’s love to her.
He got her to experience God’s love and feel that she is valuable to Him.
Jesus did say to her,” Go and sin no more”. So Jesus did not say that it’s ok to sin, and neither do I.
But God did not use the feelings of condemnation, guilt and shame as a method to get her to repent, on the contrary; forgiveness and love. Other stories I can think of from the life of Jesus, where He uses the same motivation are:
- The tax collector Zacchaeus who had stolen money from others by taking too high taxes. See Luke 19:1-10.
- The Samaritan woman who had had five men and she was now living with a man that was not her husband See John 4:5-29.
- This prostitute woman could have been the one who washed Jesus' feet. (because it only says that she was a sinner) See Luke 7:36-50
- See also Tit 2:11-12 and Rom 2:4
Because we have seen so many bad things happen in Norway and Europe when it comes to morality, fear etc., or with the World economy, there are many Christians who think: ‘ God is punishing us for our rebellion, and that is why it has come upon us’.
If you think and say this you will share a wrong picture of God, for this is not the truth and not the solution to the problem.
This helped those in the Old Testament to some degree to not sin, but we have entered a new and better times (a New Covenant), as the Hebrews writer tries to explain to us. The fact that you have chosen to turned your back on God means that God cannot help you, and you will go away from His protection when you are in rebellion. You will provide an open door for the enemy with your sin, but God does not attempt to punish you, you just are reaping what you have sown. God can never support you in your rebellion; it would be to support the devil. Sin brings with it consequences, and one of the greatest fruits is; fear, but it’s not God's punishment, it’s a result of sin in your life or other peoples life. Jesus took the punishment for your sin 2000 years ago.
In James it says the following:
Jas 4:7 (NKJV)
“Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”.
If you do not want to follow God's instructions, the devil will not flee from you, you give him the right (permission) to come against you with his lies and fears. But when you submit to God (trust Him), and know that He is good and faithful, the devil has to flee and can no longer harm you! I will also mention that Jesus came not to judge you! But to set you free from judgment.
Jn. 3:17-18, (AMP)
17.” For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge [to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on] the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.”
18. “He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for in him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe [cleave to, rely on, trust in Him] is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]”
Because of Adam and Eve’s sin; it is a built-in judgment which is in effect when we do not want to believe and trust in God, and commit sin! (the reason why we sin is because we do not trust Him.)
There will always be an effect when you sin, and this effect is the built-in judgment.
But the good news is that Jesus came to set you free from the judgment, and when you believe in Him, the curse of sin is lifted off. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, but God's gift, that is Jesus, is eternal life. We can easily see this when it comes to salvation, but it's not just about that! It applies to every sin you do as well. As you see I encourage you not to sin, for it will lead to negative things in your life. And the negative things are called: Curses.
But what I want to say is that Jesus came to help you to not sin, not to judge you when you do sin.
God is not sin focused, but He wants to show us who we really are in Him.
He wants us to be grounded in who we really are. It is to be grounded in who we really are in Christ that will cause us to not sin.
For in Christ, you are holy, pure, a righteous child of God, chosen and so on.
You also need to see that when you were born again, you were set free from the power of sin, and you died from your sin. You are already crucified with Christ, and your old sin nature is dead, you must see yourself as dead to sin. Do not let your emotions tell you who you are not any longer. Your true reality is that you are no longer slaves to sin, but you have now a new master called righteousness. (Read Romans 6)
This is now your true reality and you can choose not to let sin rule over you anymore. The fact that you are a new creation does not mean that sin no longer exists or that you cannot choose to sin, because even if you are a new creation, you can still choose to sin, but the good news is that there is nothing in your «new you» anymore that will make you sin (1 John 5:18). You may be fooled into thinking so, because of your feelings and emotions can be strong at times, but now you have the authority to make the right choices in all situations. You only need to see the authority you have already been given to you because of the new creation.
You do not get victory over sin by trying to pull yourself together. You do not achieve this by trying to do good deeds and try to make up for what you have done; “pulling yourself together (getting your Christian walk lined up with the Word of God) and doing good deeds, also not by trying to remember to confess all your sins (since you were a child), but you do need to decide to believe and trust in what Jesus already did for you, that He has set you free from the power of sin, and the curse.
You need to see what Jesus already did for you on the cross: That he crucified your sin nature and eliminated any power sin had over you, you are not debtors to the flesh anymore.
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh”
Remember that faith is not a feeling, but a decision. The thing that often makes our faith shake is that we feel nothing, or we have negative feelings, and we believe more in what they tell us than what the truth says, and we easily drop the decisions we have made to believe and rely on God. Does God dislike you (or hate you)?
The Devil wants you to have an image of God who comes to punish you, for if you believe and feel that God hates you, you will start to rebel against him. This was what Israel believed and felt about God when He led them out of Egypt; they had a wrong image of God because they had been many years in captivity.
26. But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God and refused to go.
27. You complained in your tents and said, "The LORD hates us! That's why he brought us out of Egypt. He wanted to hand us over to the Amorites so that they could destroy us”! Why was Israel so stubborn and rebelled against God? They thought God hated them. At some point Israel had gotten the idea that God hated them. I think this is the reason why so many want to reject God in Norway and Europe today. They feel that if there is a God, He is not particularly happy with them and even hates them.
The sad thing is that we Christians often have such a picture of God. If you feel that God does not love you or that He hates you, why would you believe that He has something good for you? If someone hates you, will you not feel afraid and believe that this person will not do you any good?
Some think that God hates me because I had a child before or outside of marriage, or because I was involved in an abortion, or because I view pornography on the net. Others feel that He hates me or dislikes me because I have not prayed or read the Bible in the past week or weeks, or because I don’t tithe; or because I didn’t testify about God at school or at work when I had the opportunity.
It is very important to do something with these thoughts! You need to tear them down (spiritual strongholds), for as long as you don’t see and have a revelation of God’s love in your life, you will easily rebel against God, or you are afraid of Him and lose all your confidence to come to Him, trust Him and believe Him.
Read what John tells us:
21. “And, beloved, if our consciences [our hearts] do not accuse us [if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us], we have confidence [complete assurance and boldness] before God”;
1John 4:18-19 (AMP)
18. “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown [complete, perfect] love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].”
19. “We love Him, because He first loved us”.
What is the foundation for our confidence to believe and feel that God has forgiven me? It is His love. You must start to think: I am forgiven, because Jesus loves me! So what is the first thing the devil will attack to make you feel condemned? He will try to make you feel and believe that God does not love you anymore and is against you, because of something you did or did not do. The only cure against the feeling that God hates you is to know that God loves you in spite of what you have done or will do, and that you are righteous (put in right standing). Jesus did it right for us; he took our mistakes and made it right. Therefore we are justified.
Rooted in your identity
Because many have had a bad experience with legalism, I have seen a tendency to go to the extreme opposite, where people deny that sin exists, and some may think that I am at that extreme but I am not. So I just want to clarify something here.
I think it’s important to see that you have a problem with sin, and God want to show us that we have believed in lies that have led us to sin.
God does not show us lies we have believed in that have led us into sin, to condemn us, but that we should be free from the lies that have bond and blinded us.
Grace is not to say that sin is ok, but true grace will give you the power not to sin. Grace focuses on God’s love for you, and that He wants the best for you, and your best is not bad stuff.
Sin is a thing that will bind you and lead you into bondage. Paul says in Romans that he who sins is a slave to sin. You are not called to be a slave to sin, but you are called to be free, free from sin and its power. God want to shift your focus away from sin and to righteousness. God does not focus on your sin, but who you are in Him. He will establish you in what you already are in Him and that you are righteous. That is His goal.
What I say now may shock you a bit (if you grew up with a legalistic mindset), but I am convinced that this is true: God is not trying to get you to stop sinning by focusing on your sin, He wants you to see who you are in Him, and that is what He wants to convince you about. For it is when you see your true identity and who you are in Him, that you will stop living for sin. Jesus knows that when you see your true identity sinning will cease, therefore, it is who you are in Christ that is His focus.
God desires is that you should not sin, but he does not do it by focusing on your sin and how to get you to stop sinning, but by showing you who you really are.
I repeat myself a bit here now but I hope you see my point, for here often legalism comes in and turns it around. Legalism is always focused on sin.
But does not the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, and is this not the Holy Spirit's task? This is perhaps what you have been taught and I hear this a lot, but this is not what Jesus meant when he says: The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. Often we only quote this verse, and we often forget the context as well: John 16: 8 “8. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”
Firstly, it doesn’t say the He will convict the Christians of sin, but the world. But there is also something more here: “9. of sin, because they do not believe in Me”
So the Holy Spirit's task is to convict of sin, because people do not believe in him. This is actually not about The Holy Spirit standing over you with a pointing finger to judge all sin in your life, as many may feel and think. The Holy Spirit is a helper, not a condemner.
Let's also look more at the next verses: 10. of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11. of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged
The Holy Spirit will convince us about what Jesus has done for us and who we are in Him. He wants to strengthen our faith, not pointing out every single sin you do. He wants us to be grounded in Christ's righteousness, and to see that the master of sin has already been judged, and that we have authority and power over the power of sin. This is what the Holy Spirit will convince you of when you've sinned. He is your helper who will help you to have victory in all things, and He will help you to see who you are in Christ.
No fear in love
This passage, which I have already mentioned in this teaching, is so incredibly important, especially in this context. 1 John 4:18 (NKJV) 18. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has torment, and he who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 (NIV)
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love
Before, I tried to avoid this verse, for it often led me to feel condemned. I was caught up in that I was not made perfect in love. I felt I was imperfect in acting out love, so I felt that God could not be pleased with me. It's amazing how our enemy is able to distort the truth. The verse that could really set me free was the verse I felt condemned by and tried to avoid. Before I did not understand this verse completely, but when I finally understood it, this verse is incredibly liberating.
If you can understand this truth, you will avoid going into the religious trap and the trap of denying. For many years I was maybe a bit of both ditches. I sometimes try to explain away the things that got me condemned, and avoided it. Or I tried as best I could to live right, so I did not feel condemnation, but nothing worked until I realized, or to use a spiritual expressions: I got a revelation of this verse!
To avoid condemnation, i.e.: Fear of punishment, the solution is not to try as best you can to avoid sin, or eliminate sin, but it is to study and know that God is love. God is still love, even when you do sin.
Many believe that God has love, and he gives it to us when we have behaved well and have earned it. But God IS Love, His love will not disappear (“…I will never leave you, nor forsake you”, Heb. 13:5) if you have a fall or done something wrong.
This is what happens to us (humans) when you have done wrong against each other: for we are not love (although God has poured it in our hearts). Condemnation brings fear of punishment, but the solution to condemnation is not trying to fix things, or avoid things that give us condemnation, but to study love. For that perfect love will drive away all condemnation!! That is what this passage says!
Sin is real and it can still harass a Christian, but the reason we sin is not because sin is a problem anymore (or that we are unsaved sinners), but the problem is that we have not seen our true identity. We need to be aware of sin and that we have a sin problem, but we no longer need to be focused on it, by constantly worrying that we have sinned in some way, and you probably have, (you may be in sin right now), or be afraid of sin by trying to deny it.
There are many neurotic Christians, and I have been one of them. They are afraid that they have not confessed all their sins, or that there is something they might have done wrong that they did not know about, and are afraid that God keeps a record of them and will hold it up against them, for example, that God will not heal or bless them before they have confessed all. This again is fear, fear of punishment, but The Good News is: The perfect love, God, drives out all fear, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
I will remind you about this scripture too where it says that Love keeps no record of wrong! 1Cor 13:4-7 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Truth and emotions
If you are what we call a “Bible Believing Christian”, (believe what that the Bible tells us is true), you often know what it says, but because you do not always feel that what it says is true, you do not really believe what the truth is saying. Even if you are a Christian, you have almost certainly been affected by this emotionally ruled world we live in. This world tells us that you should not believe something is true before you feel or see it. But that is a lie, and certainly not faith.
The feeling of fear
Fear is a spirit (2Tim 1:7) who will try to produce negative feelings in you, and by these feelings he, (the spirit of fear), will try to move you to do and believe things that are not logical or against the truth.
A person has the fear of forgetting to lock the door before he leaves home. He goes out the door, checks that he has locked it, and goes hundred meters, and has to go back again to check it. He goes to the car, but again he feels that he has not locked the door, so again he goes back. He can finally start to drive the car, but on the way to his job he is again uncertain about if he really locked the door, and must go back to check it again.
What is the problem to this person? Is it that he is forgetful, absentminded and always forgets to lock the door? No it is not. He knows he has locked it, he knows it as a fact, but his problem is that he does not feel that he has locked it, and he must go back to check again.
This was an example, but I know that today there are many who have a similar phobia. It might be: fear of heights, fear of confined space, or fear of being around people, fear of flying and so on. It can also be the fear of not being accepted that can lead to eating disorders, fear of rejection, fears of people, fears of disease, etc.
Although some of these fears may have some truth in them, but they are often much, much bigger than what is logical.
Take fear of flying for example. It is a truth that a plane crashes now and then, but it is highly unlikely that you will be in one. It is more likely that you will be killed in a car accident on the way to and from the airport than die in a plane crash. What is the cause of this phobia and fear? We can feel it is so, therefore; we believe it. Although we may know what the truth is, the feelings and emotions we have are more real to us than what is true. In some cases, there are also those people that are so ensnared by their emotions that they do not even know what is true anymore.
I have seen an increase of fear and phobias in the last few years, and in many strange forms, and I think it has much to do with the fact that we live in a society that more and more people allow themselves to be ruled by their emotions. And it becomes much harder to distinguish what is or isn’t true, especially if you are not a Christian and don’t believe in the Bible.
Do not let fear control your life and move you out of the good plan God has for you! Find out what God’s truth says about you, and you will be able to fight against fear with the truth(GOD’S WORD)! A fear, (you can also call this next one a phobia) that many Christians have is that God is not pleased with them and condemns them when they have done something wrong.
I want to say some more about this now.
The feeling of condemnation
Condemnation is a form of fear, it is a fear of rejection, and also a feeling that the spirit of fear diligently uses against Christians. Condemnation comes when we know we have done something wrong.
As a Christian you have heard the truth about that God is good, He is love and is full of grace, but because you don’t feel it, you have trouble believing it. For when we commit a sin, we feel that God becomes angry with us, and that He will reject us, and even dislikes or hate us. This is what we feel, but is this true? No.
We also feel that we must suffer for a while when we have committed sin, and that we really need to feel condemnation and shame for what we have done, at least for a week or so. And when we do like this, maybe God may forgive us, or give us a second chance. Again, we might know that this is not so, but that is what we feel.
I remember I was in a meeting once, and there was a girl who said: "When I've committed a sin, I will get myself to feel bad for a few days as a punishment so that I can really show to God that I regret this sin (action or event in my life).» This could perhaps sounds a bit spiritual, but it is completely wrong!
Why should you suffer for something that Jesus suffered for on the cross? He has taken your sin and your guilt and shame; you do not need feel condemned any longer! Even if it was just five minutes ago you committed a sin! What was God's motivation so that we should not sin again? Was it condemnation? Was it guilt and shame? As we saw earlier, in the story about the woman who was caught in adultery, (Feel free to read John 8:1-11 again) Jesus is giving forgiveness and love, not blame and shame. The reason that we feel condemnation or shame is often our experience. Maybe you've had a mother or father who has done so when you did something wrong against them. And they have tried to use shame, guilt, punishment and condemnation to scare you away from doing that wrong thing again. But this is not God's tactics. Let me just show you two more scriptures:
Tit 2:11-12 (AMP)
11. “For the grace of God [His unmerited favor and blessing] has come forward [appeared] for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.”
12. “It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness [irreligion] and worldly [passionate] desires, to live discreet [temperate, self-controlled], upright, devout [spiritually whole] lives in this present world.”
Rom 2:4 (ESV)
4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.
What is training or leading us to repentance? Is it condemnation, shame and guilt? Here it clearly says that it is God's mercy and His goodness and kindness that will lead us to repentance.
Why do we have shame, guilt and condemnation? Is it God who sends them? Is it normal for the Christian to have these feelings? No it is not!
But this is what the devil wants you to feel. One of his names is the accuser, and he wants to accuse you and give you thoughts about condemnation and shame. Emotions start with our thoughts, and when we think of one thing we will begin to feel it, and our emotions can confirm what we think, therefore, we believe that what our emotion tells us is the truth.
What does the truth tell us when we have done something wrong? It tells us that there is already forgiveness and you can always receive it.
Gal 3:13 (GW)
“Christ paid the price to free us from the curse that God's laws bring by becoming cursed instead of us. Scripture says, "Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed."
1Pet 2:24 (GW)
“Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins; we could live a life that has God's approval. His wounds have healed you. God is love (the love), and he will never reject you!”
Jn. 6:37 (AMP)
“All whom My Father gives [entrusts] to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me].”
1Cor. 13:4-8 (NIV)
“Love is patient, is kind. Is not selfish, is not bitter, it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it. Is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything. Love never fails.” (excerpts)
Holiness and feelings
Many believe that holiness is also a feeling. If I've managed to read the Bible every day for one week or a year, fast often, not commit any major sins, then I feel more holy. But what is it that makes you holy? Is it your good works or feelings? Is it how many times you have read the Bible? The truth is that you are made holy, even if you do not feel so. You got your holiness not because of your good deeds, and you also are not maintaining it by your good works, but because of grace. So you do not lose your holiness or righteousness when you do a sin. You get your righteousness by faith not by your works. And faith is not a feeling but a choice, as I have already mentioned.
The feeling of powerlessness
Have you ever felt that you could never overcome situation, I will never come out of this situation or it will never change for me, or I have this weakness that I can never manage to overcome? These are feelings of powerlessness and despair, which also the spirit of fear is behind. Is this emotion that God wants you to have? No!
These feelings are actually the root of most of your negative emotion and fears. The fear that you will never succeed, and the feeling of failure, for example, has its root in that you feel it is hopeless to try, you've tried so many times that you feel totally powerless.
Some time ago, I experienced a fear that I had tried again and again to overcome.
I do not know how many times I tried to get it to happen, but I hadn’t succeeded. And it might have been one of the greatest things I've wanted to happen in my life.
I was constantly confronted with the old feelings of powerlessness. The thoughts and feelings of that I would never succeed in this, attacked me. Everything felt like it always had. But it was a thing that happened, and that was very different than previous experiences; I managed to hold fast to what the truth says about me and my future. God gave me a word that really held me up in a very difficult time, and I also want to share it with you, for it can help you too:
Eph 3:20: (AMP)
“Now to Him Who, by [in consequence of] the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] –“ I like very well where it says: superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]
We have a great God, and he can do incredible, infinitely more than we can hope for or dream about! (Paraphrased; Eph.3:20)
Every day, and many times a day, I spoke this scripture out loud for myself, and I felt how the feeling of powerlessness disappeared and peace, hope and joy filled my heart again.
And when the feeling of powerlessness was trying to come back, I confessed and spoke it out loud even more. When I look back, I saw that I had the same feelings I had had previously, but my handling of these feelings when they came, was different than before.
Previously, I became depressed and thought: This will never happen to me, and I often went into a form of indifference, passivity, and self-pity. While now I took up the fight, and confessed that nothing is impossible for God! I also did not follow what my feelings said, and felt sorry for myself. I know that God has a good plan for me, and that plan is far beyond what I can dream about and hope for!
I also decided to rely on Him in this, for God is a good God, and I know that His promises will happen. For God can not lie. If our feelings of despair and powerlessness can control our lives, we will not be able to see the dreams and hopes God has for us. These feelings want to steal our dreams, like they had so many times before.
These feelings will the spirit of fear try to use against you, so that God's good intentions, plans and the destiny for your life are not going to happen. You must, like me, decide to take up the fight against these feelings, and choose to believe what the truth (the Bible) says, and not what your emotions say.
I did not see the breakthrough and what I wanted in my situation didn’t happen, but I decided not to be under the feelings of despair and powerlessness, which so often leads to self-pity.
If you do the same, together we shall see that the prayers, dreams, hopes and wishes that that God puts in us will become true one day; they will be fulfilled in such a way that we will just be totally amazed when we see what God has done.
This is my testimony, and when I look back at the past 25 years of my life, I must also say that God has done more than anything, yes, far beyond what I had hoped, dreamed and asked for. And I am very excited about what God has for me further in the future!
Just a side note: I was writing this teaching several years ago. The thing I really wanted to happen was to get married, and I did fail many times. But today I am married to a woman that I could not dream of (not that everything is perfect, but she is God send to me), so God did superabundantly, far over and above what I was thinking.
What feelings can lead to when we let them control us
If it feels good for you
The world we live in today is largely governed by what they feel. You may have heard this expression: If it feels good to you. This is a wisdom guided by emotions, not God's wisdom. And this statement is really a devilishly lie, and could not be further away from the truth. I think you are quite aware that there are many things you can feel to do, that are not good for you!
You may get the feeling to rob a bank, but that does not mean it is the right thing to do. You may feel to look at pornography on the Internet or going out to sleep with someone, but that doesn’t mean it will be good for you, your marriage, or your future spouse. Even if you feel inclined to eat a kilogram of chocolate because you are depressed, it does not mean it will be good for you. I think you get the idea.
Because so many in the world don’t have God's Word, which is the truth, to build their life on, some will for example, a married couple might wake up one morning and feel that they don’t love each other anymore, and they will be moved by their emotions to be separated or even divorced, because they did not feel love anymore.
If you read the Bible, you will find out that love is more than just a feeling. As a Christian it is very important that you are not led by your emotions. If you do so, you can easily get into a spiritual curse that Jesus has already set you free from. If a person is emotionally dominated, they will find themselves back in the same situation again and again. We may also, in our Christian life be dependent on feelings, and are emotionally dominated. Things may feel good in meetings and during worship, and you can make many emotional decisions, which can be good. But when you meet everyday life, you might not keep what you have promised. You can easily follow what you feel in the moment, and not follow what you promised God.
Feeling not-covered needs reason for sin
Adam and Eve were deceived into believing that they had (undiscovered needs), and that caused them to sin. They let themselves be deceived by the enemy's voice saying that there was something more that God had hidden from them. The devil appealed to an unmet need that they thought they had, but this was just a seduction, not a truth. God had not hidden anything from them; they were already like God, for they were created in the image and likeness of God. They had no need that was not covered.
This is the devil's seduction today too. When Jesus died on the cross He restored back to man all that the first Adam had done wrong (he gave away his righteousness, his dominion, and his spiritual authority, but most of all his rightful relationship with God), but when you are in Christ, which you are, if you have chosen to believe Him, you are also in the Second Adam (Read Romans 5 & 1st Corinthians 15). All needs that you may have, has been covered in Him. All peace, all joy, all hope we have in Him, but because we are fooled into thinking that there is something more, we fall for the same lie than today.
We all have the need to feel loved and accepted, and we are supposed to give this to each other too. But because we live in a non perfect world, we experience disappointment and rejection. If we seek this need to be loved only from humans, we will be disappointed, but if we see that we already and always are accepted and loved by God (even when we have sinned) this need will be met.
This is why the devil likes to use the the law against us, which is why legalism is so effective in having us bound to sin again. For legalism will be focused on what you need to do to be accepted by God, and legalism will lead you into condemnation which in turn will make you feel like you are not accepted by God. As long as you do not feel loved and accepted, you will continue to try to fill this void, and this leads us to sin again.... This is why Paul says that when the law came, sin also came alive (Rom7: 9).
The law is also a way to try to be accepted; accepted by God or man, but it is impossible to keep the Law one hundred percent, so it will always lead you into a cycle of sin, which is what we don’t want; (the things I do, I don’t want to do, and what I want to do, I do not) Romans 7
To strive on our own is really one of the greatest sins of all because you are trying on your own to fill the void that God has already filled by Jesus.
Many times we believe that spiritual discipline such as reading the Bible and praying every day is very spiritual, but if you make a spiritual discipline because you think that’s what satisfies God or because you feel better about yourself when you do, this is still a sin, and a way of trying to fill the need we have on our own.
All things that we try to do on our own apart from God are sins, it is actually what the Bible calls the “flesh”. If you are tempted to be unfaithful to your wife or looking at porn on the net you are trying to fill this void on your own. Your sexual emotions are created by God and they are good (although you can use them wrong) but when you feel that this need of love and acceptance are not met, you search for this in the wrong places.
As a Christian you already have this need met in Christ, but you have been deceived by the devil and through your mislead emotions to think otherwise, just as the devil lied to Adam and Eve that there had to be something more. So don’t be fooled anymore, and know that God loves you!
As a Christian, you are also not a pervert, though your feelings might have led you to look at porn. You are a new creature but you haven’t quite discovered your true identity in Christ yet. Do I encourage you to look at porn now? No, certainly not, why should you as a new creature continue to live in sin if you are dead to sin? (See Rom 6: 1-7)
Emotions and our health
Our feelings can lead to a lot of bad things in our physical body as well, when they control us. The fact that we are not willing to forgive, for example, will cause you to feel anger, resentment, frustration and even depression. And when you have these emotions, they can lead to diseases in your body, like high blood pressure, and even cancer. Emotions have a lot to do with our health. Our negative emotions, which often come from fear, may release chemicals that make us depressed, and when we have a chemical imbalance in our body, it can make your immune system weak.
Ask a doctor if not a prolonged fear and depression can have an impact on your immune system.
The Bible has actually known about this already, actually for thousands years. See these scriptures from Proverbs.
Prov. 17:22: (KJV) “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
I cannot explain this as a doctor, but the immune system is made in our bones. The red blood cells are made inside the bone calcification, and they are an important part of our immune system.
Prov. 14:30: (AMP) “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.”
Envy, jealousy, anger and negative emotions such as un-forgiveness will move you away from God's will when it comes to your health and psyche, they will, among other things, do something with your immune system so that you will be sick.
Prov. 18:14: (AMP) “The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?”
Prov. 15:30: (AMP) “The light in the eyes [of him whose heart is joyful] rejoices the hearts of others, and good news nourishes the bones”.
Here it says that joy and good news will nourish the bones, and a calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body in other words: When you have joy and peace they will make your immune system strong.
My road to healing
I want to give you a testimony from my own life when it comes to health. For God has helped me to be free and healed from a very difficult food allergy: In the summer of 2000, I started to get sick. I sometimes had some asthma-like symptoms, plus some stomach pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and often a lot of headaches, concentration difficulties, etc. I went to the doctor, and he gave me some asthma medicine, but I only got worse. Then they discovered that I had fungus in my throat, and was given fungus medicine for it. But after the fungus was cured, I was still not better, but after a while it became only worse again. I was sent to many different doctors and they gave me many different medications, but everything II tried made me worse.
I was ultimately very depressed and fearsome, for in spite of many attempts, the doctors could not find what was wrong with me. In the end the doctors did not really believe me when I said I was sick, but I was really sick. After about six months I came across someone who had had a similar sickness, and they said that it was perhaps something called Candida-allergy, a type of yeast infections. And this Candida made me have a lot of food allergies. When I came back to Norway, I went to an alternative clinic in Oslo, who said they could help me to be well.
I went to many expensive appointments, and was put on a two-month strict diet where I should not eat, among other things: sugar, flour, yeast, mushrooms, bread, dairy products, some fruit etc. And I had to take some alternative medicines. I did this for over three months, but was not better. After six months I came across an article on the Internet about amalgam fillings, and they said that the mercury in the fillings might leek and that could cause more-Candida allergy. I had quite a few amalgam fillings, so I thought that this must be the problem. The alternative clinic did not believe so much in it, so I found a new alternative doctor who did. And I started on a painful and expensive process to remove all the amalgam in my teeth. It took over a year and cost me around 20-30 000 kroner (3-5 000 USD). Because nothing really got any better I was often depressed and frustrated.
When I was finished with this, I had to go through some expensive cures that would purify my body of mercury and other things. And after that I started again on a two-month strict diet and cure to be well. But after three months I was still as bad as before. I began to eat less and less variety of food, and I reacted allergic to more and more. I began to be quite frustrated, and when I came to the alternative doctor, he could not give me any answer on why I was worse. But he said he had received a new alternative medicine that had helped others with my disease.
I tried this medicine, but after two days I was so bad that I had to stop. I got a very big breathing problem, plus headache, dizziness, etc. The worst was that I had problems to breathe in (which is the opposite of asthma). As the days passed and I was not better, I started to panic. I called the doctor, but he could not help me, and he did not know what to do.
I could not go to a regular doctor, for they had also given up on me, and their medicine did not help me either.
Then I came across another alternative doctor, who was even more alternative than the previous one. His office was clearly decorated with Eastern religion and philosophy. But I was so desperate that I tried anything to get healed. He had, for sure, some new cures for me, and I had a faint hope again. They helped a bit at first, but then it was worse again, and after a few months and several hundred dollars later, this doctor shakes his head, and did not know what he should do with me either. Now I was really depressed and fearsome, all I had tried with doctors were unsuccessful.
I felt that my faith in God had been weakened too, for where was He in all this? I had called out to Him in my frustration, but it felt like he had not heard me. There were also some who said to me that perhaps God would like me be to be sick, for maybe he had a hidden meaning by it. This helped absolutely not, and this did not make me to seek God more, or feel better. But I did not give up on God, and deep in my heart I knew that God was good and that he had not left me. For the most, I was only awake in bed, and to stand up and walk made, it difficult for me to breathe.
Nights were often the worst; I could wake up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t breathe, and I gasp for breath. Sometimes I was in half sleep, and I felt I could not breathe properly, but I couldn’t managed to turn around and wake up properly either.
This was really a nightmare. Many times I just wanted to stop breathing and go to heaven.
I came across some Christian books on healing and began to read some of them, and they helped me a bit and I got some new hope.
I tried to get to several healing meetings. It was mostly a hassle to get there, and it was very disappointing each time, for I felt that nothing had happened. I knew God had called me to Thailand, so I thought: Maybe God will check my obedience, and that he will heal me when I go to Thailand. It was not the only reason that I wanted to go.
I could not stand the thought of just laying in a bed in Norway the rest of my life and do nothing, and I knew that God had called me out there. So November 2003 I went out to Thailand. But I did not become better.
I lay in bed for most of the time, and after a month I thought that if I fast, and then only eat rice for a week or two and try a medicine I had taken with me, then I'll be well. I tried this, but when I started eating meat again, I reacted strongly to it and had great difficulty breathing again. Now my diet consisted of some green vegetables and rice. My weight was down to around 110 lb (50 kilo), and three years before I weighed almost 198 pounds (90 kilo). If I had not been depressed before, I was really depressed now. I felt no one could help me, not even God. I've experienced a lot of rejection in my life, and now I felt rejected by God. I had done everything I could think of, I tried all the doctors, used up all my money, and I had and even given myself to God, but nothing had helped. I said to God: Take my life, I will not live anymore. This was what I felt, but deep down inside of me there was something that would not give up, I've always been one who would not give up, and I knew that God had not abandoned me either, even though it sometimes could feel like that.
There was one person who prayed for me, and I became a little better. I went home to Norway after five months in Thailand, and in the fall of 2004 I went to a place in the United States to seek God for my healing.
I got my breakthrough at this prayer center, but not in the way that I thought I would. I remember I woke up one morning and I was very bad. I had breathing problems, headaches, stomach pain, etc. and I said to God: "God! You need to speak to me today! "I was desperate for something that could give me encouragement and hope. I had signed up for a service where someone would pray and prophesy over me, and I hoped that something would happen that day. When the first person prophesied over me, he said: "You have a big heart for Israel and the Jewish people." This was not what I wanted to here, because that was certainly the wrong place and people. I felt how my hope that God would speak to me this day was crushed. Disappointed I thought, "God will not speak to me today." When I came out, I sat me down and complained to God and said: "Israel! Why could you not rather say something like: "I see that you go and have gone through a very tough time, but today I will set you free? Your healing will come very soon "And given me Isaiah 53 or something like that.
Then I felt God say to me: "Do you remember what I showed you two days ago?" I had been at a seminar where a girl had received a word for some of us who were sick there, and I felt that what she said had been to me. What God gave her was the story of Naaman in 2 King 5. Naaman was the leader of the army for the Syrian, and he was a leper. Naaman heard about the Prophet Elisa, and come to his house. Naaman had great expectations and plans about how the Prophet should heal him. But when they came to the house of Elisa, the prophet did not even go out and meet this leader of the army to his enemy, but he sends out his servant with a message that he go and wash himself seven times in the river Jordan. Naaman is insulted and it says….
11. “But Naaman was angry and went away and said, Behold, I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leper.
12. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. He had fortunately a servant that was a little wiser and persuaded him.
13. And his servants came near and said to him, My father, if the prophet had bid you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he says to you, Wash and be clean?
14. Then he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, as the man of God had said, and his flesh was restored like that of a little child, and he was clean”. I knew that I had acted similar to Naaman.
I had dictated to God on how he would do it. I had also been offended at God because he had not done it my way. I also saw that both of these things were something I had a tendency to do. I confessed that I had been trying to dictate Him and be offended at Him. When I went home to where I was staying, I came past a book store that belongs to the place I attended. I thought that I could always pop in there to see if they had some interesting books. I found a couple of books, and one of them seemed very interesting.
I sat down in the garden, where I was staying, and began to read this book.
The author of the book had really gone through a lot. She experienced, among other things, allergies that the doctors did not find a cure for. She was allergic to everything. Even the things in the environment as odor of perfume, carpets, paint, etc. At worst, she lived in the car. She had tried everything but nothing helped her.
The disease was declared by doctors as chronic and incurable. I could relate to what she said, but this was ten times worse than me. She struggled nearly 20 years before she found the truth and was healed.
I also found out later that this woman actually was a member of the prayer center I was at. So later I met with her and had an encouraging conversation.
God gave me the answer on how to be healed by reading this book. I knew that my feelings were the cause of the disease, and especially the fear of rejection was the main cause.
The feelings I had struggled with over the years: As depression, despair, timidity, self-pity, and not least, the fear of rejection, had the devil used over the years to make me sick, and to try to get me away from the plan God had for my life. It was not God who had tested me, or send it my way! If I had at an earlier stage known what I know today, I would have never been sick. But because I did not know some truths in the Word of God, I became sick.
Although I have been a Christian my whole life, I had not been trained to trust God in all areas of my life (mainly salvation only, and sometimes I was not even sure about that). I had, among other things, never heard teaching like I give you now, about feelings. I was easily led by my feelings and I thought they were more real than what God said in His word. My great desire with this teaching is to also help you, so you never have to go through what I have gone through, and if you are going through similar things now, I hope this teaching can encourage you to be free.
The road to freedom has not been easy, because first, I had to overcome the fear of rejection. And I met these things pretty quickly after I came home from the United States, and it has been a big fight, but I can say today that I am free from it, and the allergies are almost gone. Often God does not take us out of a difficult situation right away, but he takes us through it.
How to control them
Since we now know that we have feelings and that they can lead us, it is important that we know how to handle them. If you know you have feelings that can lead you away from God and fellowship with Him, it is important that you do something with them, so that you can control them, before they will control you. If I can control my thoughts, I will be able to control my emotions. If my thoughts are in line with God's words, my feelings will follow.
2Cor. 10:4-5: (AMP)
4. “For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,”
5. “[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasoning’s and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ [the Messiah, the Anointed One]”
If I manage to take my thoughts captive in obedience to God, I will also be able to control my emotions!
If you think negative thoughts, what will your emotional response be? Negative! The feeling will follow a negative thought.
If you think positive thoughts we get positive feelings, if you think negatively, negative emotions come up.
If I think that I will not succeed every time I try something, I will have a sense of failure and despair.
If I fear much, my feelings will follow after what I fear.
If I am worried, I have feelings that are in the same direction.
My thoughts will dictate the feelings that I have. If you have negative emotions, think over what you have thought of in the past. And you will find the reason for your negative feelings. Jesus had feelings, but His feelings never controlled him. If your thoughts are in line with God's word, will your emotions follow your thoughts?
(KJV)“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city.”
Mind/spirit here refers to our feelings in our soul. So what he says is: He who can control his emotions is more powerful a man who takes a city! If you can control your emotions, you are more powerful than an army that takes a city. The opposite will happen if there a person that is controlled by his emotions. He is like a city that is consumed by an army.
Emotions and circumstances
Many people are depressed and frustrated, and they are always waiting for their circumstances to change for them before they can feel and be happy. They think: If I only get married, find a better job, a better place to live, if I could only get a new car, or win a million dollar in a lottery and so on, I will be happy. Or they may think: I would be happy if I wasn’t married, or had children. Many blame the circumstances and say that they are the reason why they are not glad or happy. The truth is if you think that, you will never be happy, for there will always be some problems and bad circumstances that will try to come your way. If you are struggling with a lot of depression and negative feelings, you need to do something with the way you think and speak, not your circumstances.
The truth is that circumstances will change if you’re thinking and speaking changes. If you think and say all the time: Nothing good will ever happen to me, I will always be a failure, I will never succeed in this, or I will never make it, you won’t. Think about what these words are doing with your emotions and trust in God. You have to change your thoughts and words, to change how you feel.
Instead of speaking negatively start by saying: Something good will happen to me, for God is on my side. I lost this time, but God has something better for me. If you don’t feel it, say it anyway and you will see a change in the way you feel. Let me also say that when you speak bad about yourself, like: I am unsuccessful, I’ll never make it, I'm hopeless, I don’t want to live any longer, I hate myself etc. you are saying curses over yourself and you are reaping the negative feelings that can lead you to what you think and say. For as you think (and say) about yourself, so are you.
Prov. 23:7: (Amp) “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (GNB) “What he thinks is what he really is.”
The same happens if you say negative things about others, for example, if you say that I hate him and I wish he was dead, or I want to kill him. In the beginning you might not mean it, but because you say it and think it, your feelings start to move you to hate him even more, and in the worst scenario it can lead you to actually kill the person. By saying this you are also feeding the spirit of fear.
Here I work in Thailand there are a lot of spirit houses. Spirit houses are small houses in front of the main house where they believe bad spirits live, and if you feed them (sacrifice to them), they will not make anything bad for you and protect you, but if you should forget, they can attack you and harm you.
They are literally feeding the spirit of fear.
You might be a Christian, but if you say about someone that I wish he was dead or that I could kill him, you are also feeding and giving power to the spirit of fear, not only the spirit of fear, but also the spirit of murder and anger that will try to use your emotion to do what you say.
The Bible says that life and death is in the power of the tongue.
Prov. 18:21; (NIV) “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruits.”
Look at this order of how words, feelings and actions are intertwined.
- Words produce thoughts
- Thoughts produces emotions
- Emotions produce decisions
- Decisions produce an action
- Actions produce habits
- Habits produce a character
- A character produces your destiny
A new nature!
I have good news for you! Even if you follow your feelings and has even become part of your character to do so, this is not who you really are from the creation and in your new creation; for what you do, does not tell who you really are.
As a Christian, you have been crucified with Christ already (Gal 2:20) and the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This is the truth about you from the moment you accepted Jesus. The Fruit of the Spirit is already in you,
Galatians 5: 22-25
22.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23. Gentleness, self- control. Against such there is no law.
24. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit
(Long-suffering can also be translated as patience)
This is now your true identity! The flesh is just a programmed character, but it is not the true you. For those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh and the sinful nature with its passion and desires.
You need a re-programming if you have a negative behavior as a Christian, but the negative behavior is not you! And because this is no longer you, you do not have to walk after the flesh either, as if the old nature is still in your life. Your old life is dead, and, your life is now hidden in Christ in God, therefore you do not have to walk as if you were still in your old sin nature and under its dominion. You are no longer a slave to sin, but you have been justified, you are under righteousness, so do not let these old things any longer rule over you. You are free, so walk in your freedom and be not a salve under the law again which will lead you to sin. Because you are righteous and holy, and your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, so use now your body as a servant or instrument of righteousness, and go and sin no more.
What I have said now is not my words, I actually just quoted Paul. (See Rom 6, Galatians 5 and
Colossians 1 and 3)
Rooted in Christ!
Col. 2: 4-10
“4. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
5. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
6. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
7. rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
9. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
10. and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. “
When we see who we are in Christ and our true identity, and are being rooted in this, we will no longer be led by our negative emotions.
God is not concerned with our sins, but to show us who we really are in Him. He wants us to be rooted in who we really are.
This is very important: Being rooted in who we really are in Christ will cause us to not sin, because it will also help us to see that we are loved and accepted by God.
It is important to acknowledge that we have sinned, because if we do not recognize that we have a problem we cannot do anything about the problem, but for us to be free from the problem is not the solution to focus on the problem either.
The solution to our sin problem is not to walk around all day to confess or feel condemned for our sins, but to understand that as a Christian I am already dead to sin. The problem of sin, Jesus did something about on the cross.
When you have sinned, God doesn’t point out your sin, saying: How could you do something like that. No, He wants to remind you of who you really are. He wants to remind you: remember that you are my son, remember that you are holy, the things you did are not who you really are, it's not your character any longer, for you are in me and I in you!
God does not see you for what you have done or are doing, he does not see you the way you have behaved, but he sees you for who you really are as a new creation and a son and daughter of him.
Jesus as our example!
There are perhaps many Christians, who think that if I have negative emotions, I am in sin, and I am in unbelief and then God can’t help me.
But to have negative feelings and emotions such as fear, timidity, depression, etc. is not a sin, but what they can lead you to that can be something bad.
Let us look at the emotions that Jesus had, and how He handled them. Jesus is our great example and He has also given us His Spirit and power. If He could not be ruled by His feelings, then we don’t have too either. Let us look at a scripture from Hebrews.
Heb.4:15; (KJV) “For we have not An High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin”.
Heb. 4:15; (Amp) “For we do not have a high priest not being able to sympathize with our weaknesses but One having been tried in all respects according to our likeness, apart from sin”.
The English King James translation says: Touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
So Jesus was tried in all the feelings that you may have or have had, and He also knows what it means to be tempted in His feelings, but He never fell into sin. He controlled His feelings and won over the temptations. Feelings did not control Him, but He controlled his emotions. The place where His emotions were most under attack was likely in the Garden of Gethsemane, the evening before He was crucified. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before the Pharisees came and arrested Him, He was under a very strong emotional pressure. And He said: If possible, take this cup from Me.
He actually said: If it is possible God, let Me not die on the cross. This was His emotions speaking that tried to move Him away from Father's will. He knew He had to face death on a cross to save us from sin, but He did not feel like doing it.
Mk. 14:32-36 (ISV)
32. “Then they went to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, Sit down here while I pray. 33. And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be struck with terror and amazement and deeply troubled and depressed”.
This is Jesus who is faced with feelings of anxiety, depression and terror. Jesus could easily have gone from the garden and said that I will not hang on a tree, but He didn’t. The devil will be happy to move your emotions away from God's will. Don’t live by what you feel, but by the truth in God's word.
Many do not want to go in the church because they don’t feel like it. Some feel that because they have been quarreling with their spouse, and don’t feel loved anymore, that they should get a divorce. How many times have the feeling leaded us out of God's will?
Maybe you are wondering why you are in the difficult situation you are in right now, it may simply be that your feelings have led you there. You have probably followed your feelings, and not the Word of God. This may be the reason for your difficulties. But also remember that there is a God that are stronger than your mistakes, and he can turn them also into joy!
34. (Amp) “And He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sad [overwhelmed with grief] so that it almost kills Me! Remain here and keep awake and be watching”.
Because the emotional stress was so strong on Jesus, He began to sweat blood.
Jesus said actually to His disciples: I need help; My feelings are under heavy attack. What He was about to encounter was incredibly tough, He knew He was to be beaten, spat on, whipped, crucified and tortured in addition to having the sins of all mankind put on Him, as well as going down to hell.
But what did Jesus do with his emotions?
35. “And going a little farther, He fell on the ground and kept praying that if it were possible the [fatal] hour might pass from Him.”
36. “And He was saying, Abba, [which means Father], everything is possible for You. Take away this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You [will].”
Jesus did not let emotions decide what He should do; He did not let His emotions get in the way of God's will. He knew it was God's will that He should be crucified, but His emotions were trying to move Him away from that. When you find that your emotions are taking control, ask yourself what is the devil wanting to do and move me away from? When the feelings want to take control of our choices, we must trust in what Jesus did for us so we can take good decisions.
An important advice: Do not make decisions when you have a lot of emotions, especially if you don’t know what the will of God is! Let the emotions calm down first, and go to God and seek him about his will. I will talk more about in the third point in the last chapter of this teaching.
Enter into his joy
Heb 12:1-3, (AMP)
1. THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance [unnecessary weight] and that sin which so readily [deftly and cleverly] clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
2. Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3. Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.
Some people are only focused on what they will receive when they get to heaven one day, and that everything will be good then, and it will be, but God wants us to have an abundant life here as well. If we don’t experience this life here and now, we can’t give life it to others, either. God has put us on this planet for a purpose, and it was to tell the Good News. If we go around depressed, sick, with timidity, etc. what kind of message are we sending to this world?
Remember, in Hebrews 12;2:(AMP), it says:
”He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame.”
When I read this sentence before I thought it was only talking about heaven. I thought: Down here on earth I will only have sorrow and pain, and when I go to heaven one day I can be happy. This is a religious way of thinking which says that we will only achieve joy in heaven one day. Let me take you to a scripture which many people have not understood.
“So for the present you are also in sorrow [in distress and depressed]; but I will see you again and [then] your hearts will rejoice, and no one can take from you your joy [gladness, delight].”
What does Jesus mean when he says: You have sorrow now? Did he say; as long as you are here on this earth? Was it heaven Jesus was talking about when he said that he will see them again? Many Christians still believe this, but I don’t. Jesus says this in connection with his death and resurrection; this was the night before he was crucified. The disciples did not know what Jesus really was about to do for mankind, but when they saw him raised from the dead they knew it, and this was the joy He was talking about.
So the joy that Jesus talked about was not in heaven one day, but in the near future for His disciples and also for us today when we really understand what Jesus did for us.
If you also understand how much God loves you, and what He has done for you, you will also have a joy that no one can take from you.
I am a missionary, and I know that many people have a picture of being a real missionary is to forsake or give up everything, and not expect anything in return here on earth. I know of missionaries who can’t treat themselves a small vacation, or any good things, because if they do they don’t feel that it would be spiritual or they would feel very guilty. For a good missionary must suffer. Many people read this scripture and think that we will only get our reward in heaven.
Matt. 19:29; (NLT)
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for My name's sake will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life”.
But it is important to read the Bible in its context, for if you read about the same story in Mark it says something more:
“Jesus said, Truly I tell you, there is no one who has given up and left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for My sake and for the Gospel's
30. Who will not receive a hundred times as much now in this time--houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life”
Did you notice what Mark adds? It is, hundred times as much now in this life. Not when we get to heaven one day, but here in this life, we will get hundred times!
As I have said; I am a missionary in Thailand, and there are things I gave up. I like winter sports, for example, and I like to go skiing. I also like to see winter sports on TV, but I am far away from Norway.
As I write this, it is almost 40 degrees outside, and skiing is certainly not Thailand’s favorite sport. I have also given up many friends as it has been difficult to keep in touch with them out here.
I have sacrificed my old job (that was not a big sacrifice though), my family, Norwegian food, my home, mild climate, etc. I also gave up having it pleasant in Norway in many ways, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t thrive out here. Some might think that I am often depressed, have almost no food for myself, living in bamboo hut in 40 degrees on a rice field and often have malaria and other tropical diseases? I am not saying that it can’t be at all difficult, and that I am never sick, etc. But I am not a sad, suffering, depressed, defeated and homesick missionary. For I have gotten something back for what I have sacrificed, such as: Good food, prices that are ¼ of the Norwegian, loyal friends who appreciate me, a job I love, good beaches, beautiful nature, a private house I rent cheap and I enjoy being out here, here where God has put me right now! Let me also add that you will also get problems, and that is a promise too. We will get persecution, in other words; problems.
It is a joy set before us!
To follow Jesus can often mean that we must go through difficult times, like it was for me when I first made the decision to go to Thailand, I was both sick and had very little money. And when you do ministries you will also meet oppositions and persecutions. Sometimes we might focus to much on how difficult it would be to follow Jesus, and not for the joy that waits for us, because there is a joy in it too. Heb 12:1-4 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls
Never give up!
Last in this teaching I want to tell you some personal stories on how I have met difficult things in my life, things that could have made me give up. And even though I felt like giving up sometimes, I did not. I went through them and found a joy on the other side.
My greatest testimony is that I am still here, doing what I know God has called me to do, and I have not given up.
You will never have a joy again
Towards the end of the 90's, I led a DTS (DTS is YWAM’s Discipleship Training School) team to a former Soviet state, and I had a very challenging team. I was a new and an insecure leader, and I did not know how to handle a team member who was some years older than me, and was in opposition to me. I still struggled some from the fear of rejection, and this situation made it difficult for me to make the right decisions. The fear and the negative emotions made me take some decisions based on my bad feelings, and eventually the whole team was against me. I remember I was lying in my bed and wanted to be far, far away. I could hear the demon whisper blasphemous to me: Smile now, smile, you can smile, be happy.
I felt that I would never get out of this situation and never be happy again. But in the midst of this situation came the Holy Spirit and gave me His peace. I can’t quite explain it, but it was a completely supernatural peace that filled me, and I experienced God saying to me: I still love you! The next few weeks and months were very tough, and I still wanted to give up many time. I felt, among other things, to stop serving God full time and start working again in an ordinary job. The confidence in me as a DTS staff had also been weakened, and there were some leaders who suggested that I should do something else. This too was very hard for me. But fortunately, there was a person on the team who still had faith in me, and that also helped me to not give up. He asked if I would not be with the leadership team as staff on the next DTS also, and I finally said yes to it. Although I had a very bad experience behind me, I decided to continue to be on staff for a new DTS. That year, I led a team to Thailand, and it was when I first met the people group that I am reaching out to today. If I had given up and followed my feelings, I would have never been where I am today, in a quite important job. Food allergies I have already mentioned about the disease I had, and how hard it was at times. I also felt many times to give up, actually to give up my life, but I never gave up and won victory over that difficult situation.
Should we close down the work?
The last thing I want to share with you was something that happened in the ministry that I am a part of here in Thailand. This happened for some years ago, and we almost closed the work down. We had started a school for poor refugee children, and we had established some house churches to reach out to an unreached people group. To begin with, things went pretty well, but for some reason, as we found out later, it started to stagnate. One of our staff went to Myanmar to see his mother, whom he had not seen for over 16 years. One morning we got shocking news, our staff and my good friend that had visited his mother, had suddenly died. We were all in shock, and a very difficult time began.
During this time, it was also revealed that two of our staff, as both were married to someone else, had been sleeping with each other. After this was revealed, there were very few of our staff who wanted to continue in our work. During the worst time my co-worker accidentally also ran over my puppy dog. The dog was also given to me by my good friend who died. When I got this news, I was frustrated and really depressed, and I said to God: It is enough! I really felt like giving up the work and returning home to Norway. But again, there was something in me that would not give up. I also knew that it was the enemy, the devil, who had made all of this to happen.
I made a decision in spite of my feelings. I said to God: If I only have one staff left, I will continue working with him. I refused to give up!
We in the leadership team of four said the same: We decided to not give up! When we had the summer vacation, we said to the all our staff that they had to decide during the holiday if they were to continue with us or not. When we resumed the ministry again, we only had two that were still with us. A week later we got a new staff, and a month later a couple came back to us.
Today we have many full time staff, some part-time, a school for many children, 14 house churches some youth groups and over 60 Christians and in the next 2-3 years after this incidence we saw people become Christians every week. If we had given up during the difficult time we experienced, we would have never seen this happen.
Encouragements in the end!
Do not be afraid of what kind of plans God has for your life. Do not be afraid that if you follow what God has for you, that the best thing will not happen for you! You will have joy in whatever you do because he is always with you, and you can trust Him!
Do not look at your own capabilities and abilities and how you feel about your selves, but trust God. Fear not, only believe. Learn to trust in God and remember that fellowship with Him is what he wants first of all. Have the wisdom, and do not follow after your feelings. Remember that the emotions should follow you, not the opposite.
Remember that God has given you the power to control your emotions (2Tim 1:7). Do not let this world tell you otherwise! If it does, it is a lie!
Eph 5:17; (Amp.)
Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.