Emotions: A Can Opener to the Soul


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.

Holy Spirit

Maybe your parents always told you that you were the best and the brightest. You are the smartest and the sharpest. You’re the best looking and the kindest. Maybe they always told you great things. Maybe you made tenth place in your athletic event and your parents are like, “Good job for trying! We’re so proud of you. You’re so awesome.” Maybe they always spoke in positive and encouraging words even when you fail—if you got an F on your test, they were like, “It’s okay. It’s no big deal. You still are smart and sharp. You’re the sharpest and the brightest.” But the truth is that there’s a lack of understanding there.
The truth is that we’re made up of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. In your spirit, that is all true. In our spirit, we’re perfect. We couldn’t be more perfect. Our spirit is seated at the right hand of Jesus Christ and a finished work. Our spirit is perfect, a masterpiece, chosen, holy, blameless and so loved. So viewed from the eyes of God that our sins are so far removed from us. But while we are on this earth, our body and our soul—which is our mind and spirit—they are being renewed in the likeness of Jesus Christ every single day.
Our job on this earth is to tame and renew our mind so it comes in line with the Holy Spirit. Our job is to train up our body to come in line with the spirit. Our job is to command the body to stop craving the desires of this world like sexual immorality and quick fixes. Our job is to train up our emotions to not be emotion-led but to be spirit-led; to understand when our emotions flare that tells us that we have a trust issue with God. There’s an issue when our emotions flare up. We need to go seek God about and say, “God, why am I so angry about this? Father, why am I so sad? Help me align my emotions with you, God.”
They are a dashboard—like in a car. Your car has a dashboard. It will show up a yellow light and say “low fuel.” Everybody knows what to do. Go to the gas station. Well sometimes, a light comes on and it says, “check engine.” That might actually spark a panic attack in you or anxiety because you start thinking like, “I don’t have the time or the money to go have my engine replaced. Am I going to have to replace my car?” You automatically start thinking about the negative what ifs because it’s expensive and you think, “Oh my goodness!” But that’s not what the car manufacturer intended it for. They gave you the dashboard so they tell you there’s a problem. Don’t continue on this trip any longer until you have this problem checked out or you may have a bigger problem. It’s a warning system to give you a warning to tell you, “Hey you need to check the engine. There is a problem.” They didn’t do it to frustrate you or to cause you to have an anxiety or a panic attack. They did it to help you.
God did the same thing with our emotions. What he did with our emotions is he gave us a yellow light to tell us, “Oh my goodness, there might be a problem here. Don’t go any further. Stop blabbing your mouth. Don’t tell someone off. Just stop and pause and check in the engine,” which for us would be do a heart-check. “Heart-check me, God. Show me what I’m missing or why is this causing me to get so flared up?”
So our job on this earth is to continue to get our emotions and our will in line with the Holy Spirit. You know what, God has a work that he wants you to do. He’s called you, he’s chosen you, he’s pulled you out, plucked you before you were born to do work. And the truth is, you can say no or you can say yes. He’s got it for you and it’s your choice. So what is your decision? Well, every day we have to get constantly conform our will into God’s. Even like, Jonah. God told him to go to Nineveh, but you know what, he was like, “Whatever. I’m not gonna line my will with yours, God. I’m gonna align my will on my own. I’m gonna go to Tarshish and I’m gonna do what I wanna do.”
Our job on this earth is to stop and listen to God and say, “God, I wanna do what you want me to do. When you say go to Seven Eleven, I wanna go to Seven Eleven. When you say, turn left out of your neighborhood instead of right today, I wanna go that direction.” That’s maturity. Maturity is learning to obey at the very moment God speaks and to not delay.
Our job is to continue to reconcile our mind and our will into the Holy Spirit’s perfection; continue to say yes; continue to be refined by fire; continue to make the hard decisions even if you don’t want to just because God said so; and to get our body in line with the Holy Spirit. Like, “Body, you know what, you’re not gonna sit here and lie to me and tell me all these things are wrong. I’m going to command you to listen up and obey the Holy Spirit. I’m not gonna be sexually impure anymore. I refuse to use my eyes for purpose which they were not designed. I refuse to use my body for that which it was not designed by God and I refuse to allow pain to rule me so I can’t do the work of God. I refuse. Body, you listen up to the voice of the Holy Spirit.”

The truth is, sometimes our body and our soul, they fail. We make mistakes because we’re human and we’re being transformed. We’re in the process of being transformed. Because we’re being transformed and we’re in the process, we’re going to fail. So if you were raised by parents who never let you see your failures or they caught you every time before you failed—or you’re a parent raising kids, you catch your kids before they fail or you never let them see their failures, you’re doing them a disjustice, because they’re going to hurt so bad later when they fail. They’re gonna be so mad, they’re not gonna know how to respond or how to even handle any negative criticism from an employer or spouse or a child for that matter. You are doing them a complete disservice.

The truth is, your spirit is perfect but your body and your soul is not. You have to understand that it’s not so you know you need a savior to get through every day and you need to day yes. It gives you a dependency on God when you know that you fail without him. Failing doesn’t mean, “I am a failure.” Failing means, “I did something that wasn’t in the perfect mark of which God has asked me to. Failing means I did something without a hundred percent of my heart or I didn’t do it unto the Lord. I didn’t do it as if I was serving God. Failing is doing it on my own apart from God. Failing is leaning into my emotions and giving way to them and yelling at my children or my spouse or my friends and taking them out because I’m mad and I choose to fail. Failing is not recognizing that I’m still human and I need to make the decisions that God has asked me to make so I can be made into his likeness in every area and bring those other two parts into submission into the Holy Spirit.”
The truth is, everyone needs to understand you’re made up of body, soul and spirit and your spirit is perfect. Yes, you are a masterpiece. When you know who you are and you stand on it, it’s way easier to bring your body and your soul into submission and say, “Hey soul, stop trying to go your own way. Stop trying to be emotion-led because you know what, God is worthy and he’s made me a masterpiece already and I’m gonna stand up in the masterpiece, chosen, loved, holy, blameless person of God that I am and I am gonna stand fully on that. I refuse to go my own way, I refuse to live out of my emotions, I refuse to let the sun go down on my anger tonight because my Father who has named me and adopted me is worthy. I refuse to let my body command me and lust to rule me and selfish ambition and my selfishness to take me to places where God never intended me to go.”
I, Father, wanna stand in who you say who I am and bring my body and soul into submission, the end. In Jesus’ name, I bind all these. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.