In his wonderful, yet neglected book, Feelings and Faith, Brian S. Borgman gives some common misconceptions we Christians have about our emotions:
1) Emotions are bad and need to be suppressed.
2) Emotions are irrelevant and unnecessary.
3) Emotions govern and control us.
4) Emotions are the most important thing about us.
From God’s perspective, none of these statements are true, so Borgman provides the following in way of a biblical definition for emotions:
The emotions are an inherent part of what it means to be a person; they express the values and evaluations of a person and influence motives and conduct.
In view of this definition, let me list some of the principles in his book that will help us take a more godly perspective on our emotions:
- God not only has a perfect mind and will, but perfect emotions as well (Matt. 3:17; Gen. 6:5-6; Jer. 3:13; Prov. 6:16-19).
- God communicates with passion and emotion in his Word (Hosea 11:8; Isaiah 65:2).
- Our emotions are a part of our humanity that needs to be sanctified and brought under the authority of God’s Word and into conformity with God’s Word.
- God’s truth precedes, governs, and interprets experience, not vice versa. Truth must be the priority, and experience will often follow.
- As we think about who he is and what he has done, God works through our thoughts to give us godly emotions (Lam. 3:19-25; Ps. 6:1-10).
- To walk in a manner that is worthy of the Lord, we must kill godly emotions through honest self-evaluation, confession, and repentance.