Life is no fun when it is controlled by feelings because feelings change from day to day, hour to hour, even moment to moment. They cannot be trusted, not only because they change so often, but also because they lie.
Our feelings influence us because we are "soulish" creatures. Too often we allow ourselves to be guided by our soul—our mind, will and emotions—rather than by the Holy Spirit. Although we cannot keep negative thoughts completely off our minds, we don't have to dwell on them.
We have a will, and we can choose not to give in to our thoughts. As Christ followers, we must live by truth and wisdom, not by our emotions.
There was a time when I did not resist negative feelings and, as a result, I had an unstable, miserable life. Now when those feelings rise up to cause me fear and misery, I stop and say to myself: "Joyce Meyer, knock it off! You know that is not true!"
So even though I may occasionally feel bombarded by less-than-lovely thoughts, I do not allow my feelings to dictate to me and spoil my life. That is part of being emotionally mature. Let me give you some examples. Perhaps you have found yourself in a crowd of people and felt as though everyone was talking about you. That doesn't mean they were. Maybe you feel that nobody understands you, but that doesn't mean they don't. You may feel misunderstood, unappreciated or even mistreated, but that doesn't mean you are.
These are only feelings. We need to be mature, disciplined, Holy Spirit-controlled people, determined to walk in the Spirit. It takes a constant act of the will to choose to do things God's way rather than our way.
My husband, Dave, is a portrait of emotional stability. He often reminds me of a rock, which is one of the names of Jesus. The Bible tells us the disciples "drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them [produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality], and the Rock was Christ" (1 Cor. 10:4, The Amplified Bible).
One way of explaining the nature of Jesus would be to say that He has emotional maturity. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us "Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages)" (Heb. 13:8).
Do you really believe Jesus allowed Himself to be led around by His emotions, as we so often do? Of course not. We know that He was led by the Spirit, not by feelings, though we have seen that He was subject to all the same feelings you and I experience in our daily lives.
I used to get aggravated with Dave because he never got excited or upset about anything. It was just part of his personality not to show much emotion.
On the other hand, I constantly went from one extreme to the other. I was up one day, laughing and feeling good, then down the next, weeping, whining and feeling sorry for myself. I would bounce back the next day, only to turn around and fall right back into misery.
This emotional roller coaster finally leveled off when I made a determined decision that with the help of the Holy Spirit I was not going to live that way anymore. I needed emotional stability. Dave provided an excellent example of what that was. The Bible tells us that the Lord our God who resides within each of us is mighty (see Zeph. 3:17)—mighty to help us overcome our emotions and be led by His unchangeable Word and Spirit.
Our God is able. Why not trust Him to help you develop the same kind of emotional maturity and stability that marked the life of His own Son, Jesus Christ? You can learn to take control of your emotions and avoid the mood swings that will keep you from enjoying the continual calm delight that God has planned for you. Why not start today?
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, The Penny (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at charismamag.com/meyer.