overcoming the disorder of our emotions: God is enough
There are some emotions stronger than others. Some with greater depth, a stronger pull, an intensified reflex of human nature. They affect everyone in different manners and roles.
But they’re root is the same, their context is the same- our design and our fall. We live in a fleshly world that morphs our emotions based on joy or sadness; pain or thrill. They are wired to function off the mental capacity of the person feeling them. So, when certain things in life arise, you feel a certain way.
The stronger ones, the ones with a more powerful affect, are usually the ones we have a harder time overcoming. For me, it’s selfishness. It’s the mere moment of desiring someone or thing that is not yours, not of you, not for you, or not because of you. An aspect of current circumstance that instantly has you feeling as though you are owed whatever it is, that you deserve it.
When this occurs in our mind, our heart follows. Meaning, we inevitably, even if for a moment, place ourselves higher than our God. Seem too harsh? Not harsh enough. Our God has created, designed, and entrusted us with everything we need, want, and more. So, when we allow ourselves to crave an anecdote of this life we are inadvertently saying that what He has provided isn’t good enough; what I currently am experiencing isn’t well enough; my current predicament isn’t loving enough. It’s as if we have turned our back on our faith entirely.
James 3:16-17 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
In reference, this verse also talks about meekness. Having complete control through the spirit. Being supremely in line with your faith that the possibility of faltering is incomprehensible. It’s a faith that is so sure in identity and mission that selfish ambition is left without motive and jealousy is implausible; because God is enough, and His love is enough.
But here’s the beautiful grace- He knows our hearts. So, though we falter, and waver, and selfishly run after man’s acceptance, He knows that we will return; return desperately, and pleadingly. He knows that we know our sin and that we want nothing more than to overcome it.
The verse talks about disorder. A mental unrest that throws us into chaos. I believe this beautifully explains our hearts in a moment of selfish desire or jealousy- an unrest due to our flesh competing with our spirit. It’s as if the devil and angel on the shoulder are tripled and have erupted in our mind. Instinctively we want to throw it out, drown it, silence it, in whatever way we can. This desperation to withstand the chaos is God knowing we love Him. The fighting to break through the lies is us running back to Him. The drowning is choosing to let His love be greater than the disorder.
Eventually, it goes away. It subsides. We win because God allows us to. He forgives us and loves us enough to keep fighting.
So, how do we prevent the disorder? How do we fight against the eruption of such strong emotion? We pray. We pray and learn and grow in our faith that we may slowly figure out how to think more like Jesus, and less like man. That our hearts may soften so that it’s reaction time is slower and welcoming, rather than brutal and demanding.
We pray, so that grace and gentleness emerge first, leaving selfishness unavailable.
I hate my selfishness. I hate my jealousy. I hate it, because I often feel as though I can’t control it. Like I don’t have a handle on my life in those moments when I typically live my life in order. Lord cleanse my heart of these emotions that are not Godly. Soften my heart that I may overcome them through you. Teach me so that when circumstances arise I may learn to immediately give grace and silence my fleshly demands. And forgive me Lord, for all the times that I have cowardly failed in these moments. I love you more than there are words.