How to Influence Your Emotions
From the time we are born, we are given lessons that program our minds to react a certain way to a certain situation. For example, when most people discover that a close friend of their's is getting married, they automatically boil over with happiness. On the other hand, when people hear about a death, they enter a grieving period without any thought.
It doesn't take practice to know how to react in each of these situations. People that surround us tell us when to be happy and when to be sad. And most of them do it without even saying a word. Some even tell us how long we should stay in each state of mind for.
If we don't guard our hearts properly by making them more sensitive to God than the world, then our emotions will follow the same shifting pattern that is exhibited by the world. But it doesn't have to be this way. Paul tells us, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4).
How can I Always Rejoice?
When we've been taught how to react to certain situations, it can be difficult to react according to the spirit. It takes a form of self-discipline that most of us are not used to. What's awesome about God is that we don't even have to perform "self" discipline by ourselves. Even that, when submitted to God, becomes an effortless act after time. It does take time though. Seeking God's best involves a constant renewal process which includes releasing negative feelings as soon as you feel them begin to have an influence.
God had to show me the persistence that's involved in giving up negative emotions. At one point in my walk with God, I became so passionate and so in love with God that I thought those emotions would never dissipate. While I still believe that it's possible to constantly maintain an emotional loving relationship with God, I have realized that it is a day by day process that will get easier instead of a once in a lifetime moment that will carry you through the rest of your life. Besides, if you believe that one moment with God is enough to satisfy you, then it gives you a reason to not have to trust in God the next time an opportunity comes.
We should all strive to become absolutely dependent on God and on what He's done for us.When you're focus shifts to what has already taken place on the cross, you won't care so much where you are. I have heard ministers say that feelings are poor leaders but great indicators. For the most part, I believe this to be true. Feelings can often let you know what is going on in your heart because, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). What you put your focus on and what you point your heart towards will indicate how you act. Paul was able to rejoice while he was in prison. According to insight.org, "Few prisons were as dI'm, dank, and dirty as the lower chamber Paul occupied." The reason he was able to rejoice is because he kept his eyes on Jesus. He didn't have much regard for the physical world, otherwise it would have had a hold on him. He focused on the leader of his life and did not allow anything less to get in his way. Through his stories, he encourages us to do the same.