Some people confuse emotionalism with spirituality, but they are not the same thing. Emotionalism is self-centered and seeks the adoration of others. True spirituality is outward focused, and more specifically, centered on God. When a person has a true encounter with God, his emotions will be affected. However, they will not turn inward; they will turn to God. As we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, our emotions will reflect that love. They are part of our whole being. Instead of seeking His adoration, we adore Him. Tears of joy may flow because we encountered the Father’s presence, for in His presence is fulness of joy (see Psalms 16:11). Emotionalism embraces tears, but for much different reasons.
Those who practice emotionalism are more interested in what they feel than they are in God. The reason many “church-hop” is that they are seeking some sort of feeling. They are not seeking God Himself. When you seek God for Him alone, you will also allow Him to place you in a congregation where He desires. You will not leave it because you no longer “feel it.” The only reason to leave is that the Lord legitimately wants to plant you elsewhere. He may actually place you in a church that it is unpleasant. Why? To influence it for His Kingdom. That does not mean usurp authority or try to take it over. It means bringing the presence of the Lord with you. It means praying and interceding on its behalf. The reality is that you may be part of the answer to someone’s prayer for help. Those who practice emotionalism will only submit as long as it feels good.
Emotionalists tend to practice manipulation, some consciously and some unconsciously. Because they know the strength of emotions, they play on the emotions of others to get them to do what they want. Unfortunately, some of this has crept into the church. How many have manipulated offerings by using emotions against people? The word “against” is appropriate because it puts people into bondage. When a person appeals to the emotions, especially guilt and shame, the freewill aspect is taken away. The reason cults are so successful is that their leaders manipulate those whose emotions are out of control or damaged. They appeal to the wounded and then control them through the feelings of acceptance. These are master manipulators. Tears in a service do not necessarily mean the Holy Spirit moved people. How many have cried while watching movies and the Spirit had nothing to do with it? Emotionalism is a counterfeit of spirituality. Please understand than when the Holy Spirit truly moves in a service, people will shed tears, but their lives will also change. Emotionalism does not change people. That is why some constantly go to altar and never seem to change. They want the attention and love the feeling they get while being ministered to. When they decide to repent, you will see them less at the altar. At least they will not go up for the same reasons as before.
Those who manipulate will also be manipulated. Those deceive others are themselves deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (KJV). Following after emotionalism can lead to a dangerous place. True faith does not work by emotions, but it does heal, lead and guide them by love. Please understand that because we are human, all of us will find ourselves caught up in emotions from time to time; however, it should be the exception, and not the rule. It is what we do with emotions that matter.
Unsaved or unhealed emotions can disrupt faith and belief. Unless they are healed and become subject to the Holy Spirit, they will greatly influence or even dictate the direction of a person’s life. There is a tendency for some to believe what their emotions tell them more than what the Word of God says. They have a propensity to believe what they feel is true over what actually is true. Emotions influence the way people perceive things, especially in the negative sense when they are damaged. Emotions that are not subject to the Spirit would have people believe that God does not love them. They drown them in the sea of unworthiness and smother them with hopelessness. However, the Father extended His love to us through Jesus Christ. He has given us the grace to receive healing, so our emotions will actually align with their purposes.
Emotions are designed for us to experience life and our relationship with God to the fullest. They are in place to serve us; and not us being slaves to them. When the emotions are in alignment with their purpose, they can work as tools in the hands of the Lord. They serve as indicators by letting us know whether things are right or wrong. Similar to the different gauges to help the driver know the condition of his car. There is a fuel gauge to let him know if he has enough fuel to reach his destination, and a speedometer to help navigate at the proper speed. Of course, there is the “Check Engine” light to let him know something is not right with the heart of the car. Our emotions can also serve to let us know if we are operating correctly. They can warn us of impending danger. Emotions will help us know if we are stepping out of the will of God or if we are at the center of it. They can tell us if we are right with Him. For example, peace is a great indicator of whether we are in good standing and if we are in His perfect will.
Another aspect of emotions is that they can serve as tools for ministering to others. They work in conjunction with a Word of knowledge and fit in with the discerning of spirits (see 1Corinthians 12:7-11). The Holy Spirit can actually use them to discern what another person is experiencing. For example, one may be at perfect peace, only to suddenly feel fearful or anxious. There is no apparent reason for it, since there is no existing circumstance or event to cause a disruption of peace. What he discovers is that is what the person to whom he ministering is experiencing. Upon discernment, peace returns. Not everyone is quick to express what he feels. In fact, some try to mask their emotions; especially the ones they feel may be “inappropriate.” They label some “good” and others as “bad.” Therefore, they will stuff them and deny their existence. In the process, they become enslaved to them and fail to experience the true freedom God intended for them to have. One of the biggest steps to freedom is acknowledging what is there. With the Holy Spirit’s direction, one may be able to help another to freedom.
For the most part, emotions are neutral. They are not good or evil; they just are. The way we interact with them will determine what affect they have in our lives. For example, the Word says, “Be ye angry, and sin not . . .” (Ephesians 4:26, KJV). That means anger, in of itself, is not the problem. We get into trouble when we allow anger to speak for us. While we will not address it here, the reason we become angry might be a consideration as well. When it overrides love, it can lead us to sin. Another example would be sadness. Sadness is part of the mourning process people go through when they suffer loss. When a person refuses to be comforted as part of the process, it can turn into depression. When people do not properly mourn and receive comfort at the end, sadness can take over their lives. Denying what we feel gives our emotions power over our lives. The reason that some experience deep sadness or depression at certain times of the year is because they failed to mourn and be comforted when a loss took place. They either did not know how to mourn or were unaware for the need to mourn. When they discover the reason for the depression and have a proper cry (how ever long necessary), they will be able to be comforted by the Holy Spirit as well. Once that happens, they will experience freedom from depression. A good cry is not a sign that a person has lost control; rather, it is a means to gain control over the emotions. It releases the pain. Unreleased pain has power to inflict more damage.
As there are a number of emotions we experience, there a re a number of ways to interact with them. When they are out of control, they can become our worst enemies. The can also be used against us by the enemy of our souls. Even though out of control emotions can make it seem as if the devil is attacking us, usually he is not the problem. When they are fully under the influence of the Holy Spirit, life becomes richer. There are a number of areas to address in relation to our emotions and how they affect our walk with God. Therefore, this subject will continue in the next blog.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (KJV). John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (KJV). 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (KJV).
Powerful people are not prideful people. They are not those who are possessed by knowledge and wealth, but they may possess them. They are not from any particular people group, yet they come from all people. One thing that truly powerful people recognize is that all power belongs to God.
While the most powerful people on the planet should be those of the Kingdom of God, many of them do not live powerful lives. Even though some seek live in the fullness of power and authority, they find themselves frustrated. If believers are going to influence nations for the Kingdom, they are going to need to walk powerfully. It is God’s will for every individual to be powerful, and He as made every provision for it. That being said, why do people fall short and how do they walk powerfully? Here are some answers to these questions, and obviously there are more than just these.
One of the reasons people do not live powerfully is because their definition of power differs from God’s definition. Secondly, they differ in respect to purpose. Finally, they do not understand God’s process He takes people through in order for them to properly walk with power. Consequently, they seek it by their own understanding and fall way short.
Matthew 18:1-4 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (KJV). One application of this verse in relation to the Kingdom is that true power requires humility, pure and simple. Sometimes people try to bypass the position of well-loved child to become mature sons and daughters who are ready for the family business. The problem is that it is pride-based. Face it, no one likes to be considered a child, but that comes from a carnal worldview. In the Kingdom, we learn from the position of well-loved that the Father loves us. Without that foundation, we could not properly function as confident mature sons and daughters. This leads us to a very important point: true power works by love, just as faith works by love (see Galatians 5:6; 1Corinthians 13:2). Power apart from love leads to destruction. Jesus reveals that premise in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? and in Thy Name have cast out devils? and in Thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (KJV). 1Corinthians 8:3 tells us, “But if any man love God, the same is known of Him” (KJV). If we do not begin in the incubator of love, we will not grow to be powerful people.
The purpose of power is to rule by serving people well; it is not to dominate them or to have them serve us. Power is meant to glorify God; not make us famous and admired. We are to make Him famous. It does not confirm or validate us; it confirms His Word. If we do not couple power with love and humility, in the end we will be dismal failures. What good is it if a man gains the whole world, but loses his soul? Likewise, what good is it if he becomes famous and admired, but influences no one for Jesus? Instead of walking in the true purposes of power, he will seek to use it to validate himself because he failed to receive His love. This is what happens when people fail to embrace the position of well-loved child and allow God to bring them into maturity.
If we try to define power for ourselves, it would be possible to miss our destiny. Power may place some people in palaces to influence kings, but not all people are supposed to go to palaces. Some may be called to the garbage dumps to influence and bless those who are impoverished. Regardless of the where, the grace of God empowers us to be effective in the places He does send us. That means we have to let Him show us where He wants us. You can try to make the decision for yourself, but you will be miserable as a result. Why would God give anyone power for something different from His intended purpose? If we walk in His purpose, we will walk in His power.
It has been said, “Knowledge is power;” yet, the Word says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (author translation, see 1Corinthians 8:1). That means the most educated people are not necessarily the most powerful. They may gain positions of prominence by world standards, but those positions have no eternal value. One carnal view that has crept into segments of the Body of Christ is the idea someone has to have some sort of degree or formal training to hold a position in the church. One could argue that the Apostle Paul was an example for this. However, even Paul considered all his education as dung (see Philippians 3:4-14). He determined to know Christ and Him crucified. If we go by examples, some could argue that those who have no formal education are more suited. Look at Peter and John; they were fishermen, not college graduates. Both views are false. God uses our backgrounds in different ways. He used Paul’s study of Scripture to bring to light the Truth of the Gospel. However, Paul said it was the Holy Spirit Who actually does the teaching. An uneducated person may also be disqualified if he does not surrender to the Holy Spirit. The issue here is not whether a person should go to school or not. Leave that to the Lord. Meaning, if He leads you to get formal training, then go. If He does not, then do not go. Let Him qualify you for the service He called you to do. Power comes to those who surrender.
In the world, people consider the wealthy to be powerful. In truth, this is also a false assumption. Even Scripture says, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you” (James 5:1 [see verses 2-6 for full context], KJV). Some believers think to be powerful they have to be rich. If a person is poor they have no power, yet the Word says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him” (James 2:5 (KJV)? They put their trust in God, not in riches. How many wealthy people use tranquilizers to sleep at night? How many require a drink to relax? How many have no lasting peace, no matter how much money they have? Is that powerful living? Does this mean that if a person is wealthy, he cannot be powerful? No, it means if he humbles himself or is poor in spirit, he can live powerfully while being a resource for the Kingdom of God. It is not what is in our hands; it’s the way we view and use it makes the difference. The key is being content where ever we are. Discontented people do not influence people for Jesus. Powerful people are content. Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (KJV).
The sense of worthiness is attached to love. Those who have not experienced what it means to be a well-loved child find they have a difficult time feeling worthy, especially before God. In fact, it is hard for them to believe God actually does love them. There are people who did not feel the affection of their parents as young children. A number of them did not even receive it as infants. As a result, they felt like burdens rather than blessings. In some cases, they still do. Instead of receiving love freely given, they spent their childhood trying to earn it. When they failed to be paid in full, all sense of self-worth was shattered. In essence, they were never afforded the opportunity to have a childhood.
Perhaps, the one who has the greatest impact in this area is the father. Fathers play a greater role than what some segments of society would have us to believe. They downplay the need for the father being involved in children’s lives to the point where many become orphans. Think about this, the Bible often refers to those who are fatherless as orphans, even when the mothers are still living (see Exodus 22:21-23; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29; James 1:27 [“orphan” is used interchangeably with “fatherless"]). When a father refuses to be a dad, he risks turning his child into an orphan. Even though he may physically live, the child will take on the attitude of an orphan. Some call this an orphan spirit, which is not a term directly used in the Word, but the principle it expresses is appropriate. Honestly, there is a demonic spirit behind it, as Satan attacks the families in many different ways. That is why many do not know what true love is, and therefore, do not recognize Love when He shows up. “If my earthly father did not love me, how can I trust that my Heavenly Father loves me?” Deep down, some have this underlying question. He does love you; otherwise, you would not be reading this. Just think about it for a moment.
When people are healed of this wound and experience love as a well-loved child of God, feeling unworthy will no longer be an issue. Jesus died and resurrected for us to have a relationship with the Father. 1 John 4:8-10 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (KJV). Jesus is worthy for you to be worthy! Underscore this simple fact in your heart: God is Love and wants to be your Abba (Daddy), Father. Let Him love you, and experience what it means to be well-loved child for the first time in your life, and for the rest of your life. He loves His children. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your spirit. Romans 8:15-16 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (KJV). You cannot earn His Love, because He gave it to you!
For you who need healing in this area, perhaps pray this prayer or even have someone pray in agreement with you. It does not have to be exact as written. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. He may very lead you to pray in more areas than what given here. “Abba, Father, please reveal Yourself to me as my Father on the intimate level as Abba (Daddy). Heal the wounds of the past while enabling me to forgive those I struggle to forgive. I release the wounds and will no longer live as a victim, because You have made me victorious. Thank You for letting me experience what it means to be a well-loved child and a mature son (or daughter) of the Most High, in the Name of Jesus.” You are not an orphan!
How do you become a better Christian? By not trying to be a better Christian. Why? Our trying to become better turns into striving, which is followed by dead works. No one can add anything to the righteousness received by faith. You cannot add to the Work of the Cross. The moment a person steps into works, he departs from grace and enters into self-righteousness.
Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (KJV). Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (KJV). Hebrews 4:10 tells us, “For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His (KJV). What do these verses have in common? God does the work; we don’t. We cannot make ourselves better. The righteousness of Jesus is our righteousness, period.
As soon as a person attempts to become better, he begins to make up his own standards of righteousness. He gets a picture in his mind what righteousness should look like, and then attempts to become what sees. That person soon develops a list of dos and don’ts; as well as shoulds and should nots. He proceeds to wear himself out trying to do what he cannot do, much like those who try to follow the Law of Moses. When failure comes, so does guilt, and God has nothing to do with any of it.
As a person begins to do those “super spiritual things,” whatever they may be, pride tends to set in. The next thing that happens is he begins to pat himself on the back, congratulating himself on a job well done. He compares himself to others, and measures them by his standards. He judges them worthy or unworthy in his own mind. They cannot be Christians if they do not stack up. This is self-deception in action. In the mean time, he cannot figure out why he feels distant from God, and why no one wants to be around him. Forgetting the Scripture that plainly says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12 (KJV).
What are some keys to being a better Christian? Stop striving, and surrender. Be a follower of Jesus Christ. Be His disciple, and stop trying to be your own. Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (KJV). When we deny ourselves, we no longer insert our selves into the equation. We let Jesus define what it means to be His disciple for us. Put away the list of “Christian duties,” and let the Holy Spirit lead you day by day. It really boils down to believing Him and loving Him. Everything else will fall into place. Consider the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham (Galatians 3:1-9).