Emotions: A Can Opener to the Soul

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One of the greatest things about having kids who are old enough to do things is bossing them around. “Hey kids, do the dishes.” “Hey kids, vacuum the floor.” “Hey kids, do all of my motherly house chores.” When I tell them, command them, or ask them to do something, am I asking them to do something they couldn’t possibly carry out? I mean, how difficult is it to unload the dishwasher for a 15-year-old? She uses the dishes. I use the dishes. Why is the house the responsibility of the mother? It shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t all fall on my shoulders. 

When I ask her to do it, there is a purpose behind it. It’s not something she is unable to do. I didn’t say, “Hey, go reroof the house.” I’m not going to say, “Hey Chandler, I know you are not old enough to drive and you don’t have a driver’s license, but can you drive my car to the store to get us some groceries?”

Right before Jesus was crucified, He was giving His last words to His disciples. But they didn’t realize that in the moment when Jesus said—in John 14:1—“Do not let your hearts be troubled” (NIV). Distressed or agitated is how the Amplified Bible defines that. He told them not to let their hearts be troubled. That is a command. He gave them a command. He was telling them, “Hey, I am going to be crucified. Now when this happens, don’t be agitated. Don’t be distressed.” Would He give them a command they could not carry out? Would God ever do this? Would He give you something to do if He hadn’t equipped you for it already? Absolutely not.

When they took Jesus away to crucify Him, all the disciples fled because of shock, awe, and fear—even though Jesus had told them what was going on and what was going to happen. It was like they did not truly believe Him. They didn’t understand. They didn’t have full comprehension of what was going to go down. 

When it happened, it’s like it spiked their five senses. Their emotions started going wild, like, “What is going to happen? I am afraid. What if they take me, too?” Peter denied Jesus three times because he didn’t want to be associated with Him. What would make someone deny Jesus three times? Fear. Fear for their own life, fear for their own harm, and fear that if Jesus was accused, they were going with Him.

Jesus had just told them not to let their hearts be troubled, not to let themselves be moved. Our emotions are like a can opener to our soul. They can completely and immediately invoke fear and a response if we aren’t being intentional about pausing. The moment it hits us and our heart wants to be troubled, we have to pause, take those emotions and thoughts captive, and put truth to them every time. The moment they heard or saw Jesus being taken into captivity, the disciples should have paused and remembered, “Wait a second. Jesus told us this was going to happen. He told us not to let our hearts be troubled. How can we band together and keep that from happening?”

Instead, their immediate reaction was to flee. They all fled. They ended up separated. What does Ecclesiastes say? “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NIV). Yet they all fled. They went on their own. They ended up isolated. Peter ended up isolating himself when he denied Jesus. He didn’t have a band of brothers, a cord of three strands.

In John 14:27, when Jesus was finishing His last words, He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (NIV). He told them to stop allowing themselves and permitting themselves to be agitated and disturbed, to be fearful, intimidated, cowardly, and unsettled.

Jesus had given this command to them, and immediately following that, they didn’t carry through with a single thing He had told them to do. They were fearful; they were disturbed. They were agitated. They were cowardly. They were unsettled. They were in denial. They didn’t cling to the truth. They didn’t cling to Jesus. They didn’t remember His words. They forgot. They didn’t linger on the last words of their leader. They gave up, quit, and ran in fear. They didn’t remember He said not to be troubled. If they hadn’t been troubled, they would have remembered, “Oh, He said this is only going to happen for three days. In three days, He will rise again.” But they couldn’t remember that because their emotions took over and their flesh responded.

Whenever we have an emotional response and our hearts are troubled, we have to ask ourselves, “What is it that we truly believe? What lie do we believe that is preventing us from being stable-minded?”

Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]” (AMP). When your emotions flare up and your heart is troubled, distressed, and agitated, you aren’t resting in the shelter of God. We have to ask ourselves what it is we believe that is untrue and triggering this emotional response.

My automobile has dashboard lights. I have two of mine on right now—one is maintenance required and the other is low windshield wiper fluid. Those dashboard lights are there to tell me, “Hey, your car needs maintenance. You might want to get it checked out before it breaks down on you on the highway.” Emotions are the same thing. They flare up to tell you, “Hey, it’s a reminder. Remember God’s promises. Don’t forget the truth He gave you. Don’t forget the words He spoke to you. Go back to the last thing He said. Remember His promises so you can be stable. Trust in Him. Rest in Him to be stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Do a heart check. What is causing this trigger to happen? What is the source? Release it in the name of Jesus and be free from it. Emotions are a can opener to your soul. We are supposed to worship God in spirit and in truth. We need to be protecting. When our emotions jump up, we should pause and take a look at our dashboard. Say, “Hey, what lights are up? God, remind me of Your promises. Is there some lie I believe and I need to speak to right now in the name of Jesus and release? Do I need to forgive myself or someone else?”

We need to stop being moved and controlled by every emotional response and not let our hearts be troubled, distressed, and agitated. He left us His peace, not peace like the world has but the peace that transcends all understanding and guards our hearts and minds when we rest in Him.

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