How NOT to Be Controlled by Our Emotions



Many of us go through our days on an emotional rollercoaster of doubts, fears, anger, and anxiety. Emotions can help us a great deal, but they can also create a lot of problems. We are prone to experiencing great highs and lows without any solid foundation of who we are, what we’re doing, and why.

Emotions like love can connect us with the Holy Spirit, for “those who abide in love abide in God” (1 John 4:16), but many emotions lead us down the wrong path. Every day feels like a battle to feel good in spite of our circumstances. This may not be you, but many people find themselves in a constant struggle to hold on to a sense of self and strength as they go through the day.

It’s difficult to know when we should trust our emotions and when we should question them. To make it easier, however, God “has made everything suitable for its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). There is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

The Bible must be the guide of our life. It strengthens us and leads us down the right path. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit in four different ways:

  1. Through the Bible
  2. Through prayer and conversation with God
  3. Through the Church and the people of God
  4. Through our emotions and circumstances

These four ways that God speaks to us are in chronological order. We should make the Bible and our prayers the foundation of our relationship with God, and then build on that with the Church, and then and lastly, our emotions and circumstances.

We tend to flip this upside down and rely on our emotions and the opinions of others first, before we ever spend time in conversation with God.

Start with the Word of God.

We can be passionate about something, but we can also be passionately wrong. No matter how strong your feelings are, start with the Word of God to validate or invalidate those emotions. Get back into the Word of God by reading the Bible daily. Let that drive your life rather than your emotions.

Start a new life today by making God your center. That’s why God gave us the Bible—infinite truth that we can rely on that is outside our emotions and circumstances.

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Bible Quotes on Emotional Control and Mastery

  • “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16–19)
  • One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is the Lord’s alone..” (Proverbs 16:32–33)
  • “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 15:18)
  • “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
  • “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10)


Hey, this is Todd Phillips, your online pastor and personal life coach to talk about a very important topic today: How not to be controlled by our emotions. You know especially for Christ’s followers, I see this happen quite often, we will over time in our Christian faith, will pull away from the Bible, pull away from time in God’s Word and rely more on our emotions than we do the objective truth that we find in the Word. He’s called us to be in His Word on a daily basis. He’s called us to share our faith, our relationship with Him, with other people on a daily basis.

If we let our emotions drive us, though, it can create some problems. We will wait for our feelings to motivate us instead of doing the things that God has already called us to do in our lives — like reading scripture, sharing our faith. Emotions are good; don’t get me wrong. It’s important to understand, though, that when they compel us toward the things of God, they’re good. But many times our emotions can lie to us.

That excuse becomes less acceptable the older we get because we realize that there’s things we just need to be doing on a daily basis whether we feel like doing them or not. They’re just part of our daily responsibilities. It would be like us going to our boss and saying, “I don’t feel like working today!” Or, “I don’t feel like taking a shower” or “I don’t feel like brushing my teeth.” Eventually my family, my wife, my kids, would just say, “Look, it’s time to brush your teeth!” Right, it’s time to do these things that are just part of our daily lives!

And so, a lot of times, we let emotions come in and they trump the Bible when it comes to our Christian faith rather than the Bible being that guide for our life and our emotions being submitted to the objective truth of God. Now, emotions when filtered through the lens of Scripture can be powerful and positive things given to us by God. But experience isn’t the test for God’s truth revealed in Scripture. God’s truth and scripture is the test for our emotions. Do you see the difference?

The Holy Spirit does motivate us through our emotions. It happens that way at times, but we validate whether or not those emotions are true based on Scripture. You know, I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating — the Bible is a key guide for our life; it’s objective truth. It stands outside our emotions; it stands outside of our experience; it stands outside of our culture.

But even more important than just that truth right there, we need to understand how God speaks to us every day. I’ve said this before, but I want to share it again —God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit in four different ways, and unless we understand this, we’re going to be missing a lot of things that God wants to share with us each day.

  1. He speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, the Word of God
  2. Through prayer, our time in prayer and conversation with God
  3. Through the church, the people of God
  4. The circumstances of our lives, and that includes the emotions, the things that we’re feeling

Now we start with the Bible through prayer, then the people of God, and then and lastly, our emotions in the circumstances. What we tend to do is flip this thing upside down; we rely on our emotions, and our circumstances, and opinions from other people, before we ever spend time in prayer or go to the Word of God.

It needs to be this way: We need to start with the Word of God. If we emotionally feel something very strongly, we can be very passionate, but we can be passionately wrong! And the only way that we can validate what we’re feeling inside, no matter how strongly we feel it, is to go to the Word of God and validate it by His objective truth.

So let me encourage you with this today, get back in the Word of God. Some of us just really need to hear that encouragement. To get back into daily reading, allowing ourselves daily to read scripture, to read the Bible, until it’s allowed to permeate our lives — so that we can be guided by that objective truth, instead of our own emotions. There are so many people in the Christian faith today that are driven, not just guided by, but driven, compelled, by their emotions. And many times it gets us in trouble. That’s why God gave us the Bible — objective truth that we can rely on, outside of our emotions, experience, or even our culture.

I hope that’s an encouragement to you.


[after video]

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