|Volume 22 Number 7 July 2020||
How many times have you heard someone say, “God made me this way!” Emotional justification for sinful action is a common claim made by many, and unfortunately, not only the unsaved make such an assertion. The idea is this: If emotions are uncontrollable, then we are not responsible for our actions. That’s a very dangerous proposition! “I’m not in control” sounds very much like, “Don’t blame me for my actions, blame God. He made me this way!” Therefore, I have justification to act as I will without remorse. “Do as thou wilt and whatever feels good do it” are, by the way, central tenets of Satanism and not Christianity.
It is true that God gave us emotions, but He also gave us reason. It is true you can choose not to lose your temper. You can make a different decision and make up your mind that you’re going to act on reason and not on emotion. That is one of the things that separates us from the animals. We have the ability to think things over and not act immediately on our emotions. Our feelings are not our thoughts, yet, sadly, many are ignorant of this truth or behave badly in spite of what they know.
Our ability to reason is a supernatural aspect of our God-given spirits. We can think before we act or react. Take, for example, King David’s lust for Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. David did not have to act on that emotion, and he was held accountable for the sinful actions that resulted. God holds us accountable for our emotions, and there are consequences to our choices. Emotions aren’t bad in and of themselves, but it’s when they are misused that sin enters the scene.
Consider love and compassion. Many define them as emotions, yet, biblically, they are identified as acts of one’s will. Love is not always a good thing, either; many love sin with a passion. We must be mindful of whom and what we love.
Far too many are proud of their sins. They claim they were born like that and credit God with their sinful practices. Yet, they have no understanding of the will of God. He does not program us to sin; rather, He grants us freewill. We have the choice to obey His Word or our own feelings.
Consider the crowds that heard Peter in Acts 2 and how they were moved to repent. Contrariwise, the crowd that heard Stephen in Acts 7 was moved to homicide. Did emotion justify Stephen’s murder or the former’s obedience to the Gospel? Remember, the men who killed Stephen felt that they were pleasing God; did not their hearts tell them so? They tore their garments, they were carried away by self-righteous rage, and they took up the stones and threw them with the intent to kill! Does emotion, as a God-given attribute, excuse sinful actions? Does it justify sin? God forbid!
Folks caught up in the emotions of religious fervor think because they felt something in their hearts, God blessed them in what they did. Many believe they are saved, and yet, God tells us to believe and to be baptized so we can be forgiven of sin (Mark 16:16), rather than wait until we get a fuzzy feeling inside! Salvation has nothing to do with an emotional rapture at a revival meeting but everything to do with an act of the will, based on the facts presented to us in God’s Word.
The obedient heart is not one where feelings control one’s thoughts; instead, that is an idea of our western culture. Rather, a person ought to practice the reasoning and logic described in the Book of Proverbs. Does our Lord have emotions? Indeed, He does, for He wept at the fate of rebellious Jerusalem (John 11:35). He shed tears of blood at Gethsemane, but He pressed on to the goal despite His fear. That is obedience and choice. That is the perfect example of not allowing emotions to control one’s actions.
Emotions play an important part in our humanity, but justifying our actions by claiming that emotions control us is not only an abdication of personal responsibility, but it is a placement of responsibility for our sinful behavior upon God! Considering the statement, “God made me this way, I can’t help it,” let’s follow that path of illogical reasoning. It is saying that God is to blame for my lashing out in anger, stealing the thing I desire, hurting others to gratify myself and outbursts of violence so that I get the results I want. If God made us to be governed by our emotions, then how can we be wrong? It’s what He programmed us to be—right? Wrong (Romans 3:23)!
The Bible says, in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” God gave us emotions, not to control us, but as a gift. Let us not abuse that gift by making them an excuse for sin and holding God responsible for our wickedness.
In Times Like These, You Need…
Our world has been turned upside down because of the Corona virus. None of us has ever experienced what is now occurring in our lifetime and in our country. Perhaps it has caused us to consider what we really need in this life rather than just what we want.
There is definitely a need for food to sustain life. Because of health problems, there is a need for many to see a doctor while others may need to be hospitalized. Grandparents truly need to hug their grandchildren. Students need to be in school. There is a great need for family members who are separated to be together again. There is a great need for an owner to open his or her business soon! There are people who need to go back to work. There are multitudes of family members who need to see their loved ones who are in hospitals and nursing homes! There are individuals who are in an emergency room, an intensive care unit or in a hospital room who are in critical condition, who desperately need loved ones to hold their hands and express words of comfort and love to them. There are Christians who have a great need to assemble with their brothers and sisters in Christ to worship Almighty God and Jesus Christ.
During this crisis, we should all realize that we really don’t have control over what a tomorrow may bring in this life. In the epistle of James, we read, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (4:13-15).
We all agree that we need a cure for Covid-19; however, the greatest need we have in this life is Jesus Christ Who gave His life for us on Calvary’s cross. There is a disease of the heart, and it is called sin. If it is not removed, it will lead to death (Romans 6:23). Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world (Luke 2:11). In fact, He came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus, the great Physician, came to call sinners to repent (Matthew 9:12-13). The hope that we have in Jesus Christ is the anchor of our souls that is “both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). Carefully read the words of the apostle Peter, when asked by his hearers what they should do to be saved. “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The “saved” were added to the church, the body of believers (Acts 2:36-38, 47). In this time of uncertainty, anxiety, being quarantined, loss of loved ones, worry, fear of contacting the virus, etc., it is comforting to know that God “desires all men to be saved” (2 Peter 3:9). Truly, it can be said, “In times like these you need a Savior.”
In times like these you need an anchor
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock
This Rock is Jesus; yes, He’s the One
This Rock is Jesus, the only One
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.