When anxious thoughts start swirling around our minds, we begin to get very confused. How are we to respond to such strong feelings and emotions? Let's pursue this topic by asking five questions.
(1) What are feelings and emotions?
Feelings are a companion to our souls designed to amplify the state of our inner lives. "I feel great!" "I feel alone." Many of us are afraid of our feelings for they reveal too many things that we would not want to know about ourselves. The wide range of meanings for feeling from 'lust' to 'sympathy' has greatly confused the issue.
(2) How can feelings be rightly used?
Feelings are a good tool to explore our inner beings but dangerous when used to make decisions. Some people justify living by their feelings because it is their real selves. Because people 'feel' a certain way, they respond in a corresponding manner. Although these feelings may reveal real insights into our inner lives, they are not to be identified with our person.
(3) How is the mind different from feelings?
The mind was designed to lead while the feelings to follow. The mind can objectively examine things such as ones own life by accepting outside data. Feelings can only express inward reflections.
Renewing of the mind means we take God's perspective and let it shape how we live. The mind, therefore, rightly used, can intercept a person in difficult straits by subjecting itself to God's wishes.
How do they relate to the mind?
Feelings are subjective while the mind if properly used can be quite objective. The mind for instance can accept thoughts foreign to its nature and then be affected by them. Many people were shocked to hear how an American ended up fighting as a Taliban soldier over in Agfhanistan. Those who control a person's thoughts, controls his life.
(4) How is the mind viewed today?
Many people think of the mind as merely a means to make money to serve ones own pleasures. Truth and logic have been stripped from reason so that the mind's objectivity is lessened. Man at times live more like an animal than a man in God's image. The 'modern' man does not trust the mind and believes the greatest pleasure follows from experiences. By crippling the mind and stripping logic and truth from it, their conscience is viertually silenced.
This darkened mind must be renewed by the washing of the Word of God. We do not need to respond as we feel. We can choose to go according to God's Word by trusting in God, His person and power.
The old illustration of a train with faith as the engine, fact as the cars and emotions as the caboose still holds. The emotions are expression vehicles. Renewed minds lead to transformed lives. We do not need to try to feel better. We read God's Word to find out what better is. Then we make decisions to do better. In this way the truth guides our lives. As we begin to think more properly, our emotions will eventually follow.
Let's see how this is worked out in a influential king's life. Next page