Genesis 43:29-30 NIV As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.
Joseph sees his brother Benjamin and he is overcome with emotion.
When God created us, he created us with emotions. He created us this way because God has emotions. He gets angry. God gets angry when there is a violation of His character. God is righteous, just, and holy, and none of these attributes can be compromised.
Isaiah 42:8 NIV “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.
Jesus got angry with the religious teachers and leaders of that day for using religion for their own gain and keeping people in bondage.
John 2:13-16 NIV When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
Romans 1:18 NIV The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by1 their wickedness,
John 11:33-35 NIV When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.
Ephesians 4:30 NIV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
God shows happiness.
Psalms 16:11 NIV You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Don’t be afraid to release your emotions even if it's anger toward God. He can handle it.
The problem is that when we sometimes get overcome by our emotions and our focus becomes horizontal. When our focus is horizontal, we look at people and things. When our focus becomes vertical, we lean on God to get us through whatever is happening.
God gave us emotions and created us to worship Him. We are created to worship God; that is our primary purpose for living. Every product exists for a purpose determined by the manufacturer and not the product.
Isaiah 43:20-21 NIV The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise (emphasis mine).
How do we unite worship with our emotions?
Worship is more than singing songs to the Lord. It is living a life filled with adoration that prompts us to honor and obey him.
Romans 12:1-2 NIV Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
God made us in his image, which includes emotions. He is the source of our emotional life. Our emotions are a good gift from the Lord. Unfortunately, sin broke the perfect relationship between God and man. The choices we make driven by our emotions can lead us into sin.
An example of this anger. The problem isn’t anger itself because I just said that Jesus go angry but we are warned not to sin. The answer is to take it to the Lord and ask him to help us process it.
Ephesians 4:22-27 NIV You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (emphasis mine).
Happiness can make us feel wonderful and that’s not wrong. In fact rejoicint is important to the Lord.
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Just remember our happiness, our joy, in God is not dependent on circumstances
If everything goes well, I'm happy. If not, not so much.
Our joy should rise above circumstances. This joy is not produced by something external that makes me feel happy. It is supernatural result of a life filled with the Holy Spirit of the living God.
Galatians 5:22-25 NIV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
We love God when we let him into our anger, happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, and surprise. We worship God with our emotions when we cooperate with the Holy Spirit. A worshipful emotional life comes out of sound spiritual principles.
Mark 12:30 NIV Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
One of the ways we can worship God with our emotions is by bringing every emotion to him. He cares for us and welcomes our emotions.
The Psalms are examples of the range of emotions from anger, to fear, to happiness, the list of emotions exhibited in Psalms is endless. We worship God with everything that is within our hearts. The good, the bad, the ugly, the seen and the hidden. When we give all our emotions over to God as the object of our worship the settles us and we can find rest in Him.
Psalms 62:5-8 NIV Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
True, authentic worship begins with an honest look at yourself.
James 1:2-8 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
To consider it all joy when we face trials means we have to navigate every emotion we face. To find joy, hope, peace, and trust, we must deal with the opposite emotions. When you fail to do that worship feels shallow and fake. If you swallow your emotions, you just hurt yourself.
Emotions can be messy. But God doesn’t shy away from the mess of us. Instead, unload your emotions on God. He loves us enough to redeem us. God doesn’t love you any less when you throw a temper tantrum. He doesn’t owe you an explanation. But he is never afraid of what you have to say. So tell him. It’ll be the beginning of healing.
We worship him amid the ugly. We praise him during the beauty.
The Holy Spirit Helps
A healthy emotional life flows out of cooperation with the Holy Spirit. We can’t run from our emotions because that would be denying part of the image of God in our life.
Salvation is our initial acceptance and belief of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Sanctification happens from that moment until we reach our eternal home in heaven. As we mature in our Christian walk, the Holy Spirit conforms us to the character of Christ. We learn to live by the Spirit as we daily choose to worship God with our emotions.
We get out of step with the Holy Spirit when we deny or be overcome by our emotions and let them control us. Our emotions don’t have control us. When we learn to worship God with our emotions, we recognize God as first place in our lives.
How do we worship God with our emotions? By bringing our hearts, with all its contents, to him. We pour out our hearts and cooperate with the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. Our emotions are a gift that opens the door to an intimate relationship with God. As our relationship with him deepens, so does our worship.