Ah … the rainbow of emotions! We can be green with envy one day, feel red-hot anger the next, or be overcome with the blues when we’re saddened. Sometimes, we may feel greens, reds, and blues in one day’s time! Whether it’s anger that pops up at an inconvenient time, jealousy that creeps into a conversation, or overwhelming joy at a seemingly small event, emotions can come upon us quickly. It’s important to know what God says in His Word about emotions. Only then can we accept and understand our emotional responses and handle them in a God-pleasing manner …
Anger is often treated as sin no matter the circumstance, but this is a deception. Anger is a God-given emotion that signals to us when something is wrong. It is how we choose to handle our angry feelings that will decide whether there is sin involved. Even God feels anger:
For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth … Romans 1:18
Jealousy is often described as a “green-eyed monster,” and it certainly is capable of causing monstrous behavior! But God has a pure jealousy towards those who belong to Him and He is not willing to share them with another god:
You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14
When we experience jealousy we are wise to look deeper, for like anger it can signal a problem in a relationship with another. It can even point to a problem in our relationship with God when we are discontent with our circumstances.
While there are many negative emotions such as anger and jealousy that cause us to react and look for instant relief, there are wonderful emotions that lift us up and fill us with life. Joy is one of God’s gifts to us. It causes us to look beyond the negativity around us and focus on what is positive–and it cannot be taken away by anyone or anything outside of us. God even reminds us in His Word how much He delights in each of us:
Never again shall you be called “The God-forsaken Land” or the “Land That God Forgot.” Your new name will be “The Land of God’s Delight” and “The Bride,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his own. Isaiah 62:4
Experiencing difficult emotions should challenge us to grow in our walk with Christ, while emotions like joy and happiness are refreshing to our spirit and our soul. Whatever the emotion that may well up inside, remember that God is emotion-filled too!
How do you deal with emotions like anger or jealousy? Who or what in your life brings you joy? How does the truth that God also experiences emotions encourage you?