START HERE

Today’s Truth

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.

Proverbs 25:28, NIV

Friend to Friend

It is not enough to acknowledge the presence of negative emotions, or even understand why they exist. We must take action. If we don’t, negative emotions will take control.

Many of us are imprisoned by feelings of inferiority, and the results are always disastrous. Constructive criticism is perceived as an emotional attack. Jealousy burgeons as others receive the accolades we desperately crave. Decisions are made, and a course of life is determined so that fragile egos are fed, excluding God’s plan and purpose. Comparison reigns as a false idol, attempting to validate worth and success. Inferiority crosses over to pride and sin reigns.

Emotions can be like runaway horses. You are trampled by a friend with a hidden agenda, kicked in the gut by a family member, thrown by the lies of a trusted co-worker, or crushed by a lack of integrity in those in authority over you. Emotions can easily stampede out of control and into sin.

The success of emotional integrity lies in the one who holds the reins. We must constantly choose to surrender every emotion to the supernatural control of God. The Holy Spirit empowers that choice, produces control, and transforms emotional bondage into emotional freedom. Learning to control negative emotions is a crucial life lesson and one we need to master.

The people around us want to see what happens when life pushes our buttons. While God created us with the capacity for emotions, it is our responsibility to control them instead of allowing them to control us.

When Jesus saw moneychangers desecrating the temple of God, He was furious! Yet, He modeled the right way to harness emotions and use them for good. I have heard many Bible teachers and preachers attempt to soften the response of Jesus, but the truth is – He was irate! I can almost see His face shrouded in plain old fury as He contemplated His options. If I had been in His place, I can tell you that those wicked men would have been toast! But before Jesus faced the intruders, He stepped aside to braid a whip – not because He had completed “Whip Braiding 101,” but because He was taking the time to harness His emotions. Jesus then used that harnessed anger to drive the moneychangers out of the temple, correcting a wrong.

We choose where to invest every ounce of emotional energy we possess. Like Jesus, we must learn to invest wisely, in order to reap the benefits of healthy emotions, harnessed and trained by godly discipline.

Emotional bankruptcy is too often responsible for the destruction of a life. We must intentionally monitor emotional withdrawals and the impact they will have on our lives. There are certainly emotional withdrawals that are good, right and ordained by God. I will never forget the night we found a broken and defeated young pastor standing at our front door. With tears streaming down his face, John told us that his wife was having an affair and wanted a divorce. Certain that his ministry was doomed, this precious and gifted servant poured out his pain and defeat. For months, Dan and I ministered to this stellar young man, loving him, encouraging him, making him part of our family while he tried desperately to save his marriage.

When it became clear that his wife was determined to leave him, we repeatedly assured John that God would once again use him for Kingdom work. Today, that once broken young man is married to a beautiful, godly woman who adores him. They have three incredible children and the church he now pastors is exploding in growth and changing lives. The time and energy we poured into John was a worthy emotional investment and one of our greatest blessings in ministry.

However, some emotional deposits are not good, right, healthy or God-ordained. Life is jam-packed with lifeless places in which to invest emotional energy.

We need to constantly check our emotional balance, guarding the emotional withdrawals we allow and diligently making consistent emotional deposits. Prayer, solitude, Bible study, friendships, service, accountability, and a guarded thought life are just a few of the deposits that can make the difference between emotional health and emotional bankruptcy. Emotional imbalance occurs when we operate in our own strength, doing our “own thing” instead of wholly depending upon God and living in the parameters of His will. When we depend on His strength, purpose and power, the Father deposits everything we need to accomplish every good work He created us to do.

Let’s Pray

Father, I praise You for giving me the gift of emotions. Help me learn how to manage and control those emotions so that they are assets instead of liabilities. I want to become a godly woman of discipline, but I can’t even start that journey without Your power. I choose to spend time in Your Word and in prayer. I submit my emotions to You and ask that You use them in my life for Your glory.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Take a few minutes to make a list of the top five emotional responses common in your life. Which emotion do you experience most?

Beside each emotion, write one habit you can incorporate into your life that will enable you to control that emotion.

More from the Girlfriends

Is your life filled with joy? Do you understand what true joy is? Grab a copy of Mary’s new journal, Joy Journal. It will help you develop the habit of seeing God’s handprints in your daily life. Check out Mary’s FREEBIES! (Free book excerpts, articles, MP3s and videos.) And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

2 Responses to “Emotional Integrity”

  1. Meg Nunez says:

    Dear Mary, idk if you’ll see this, I hope you do. I have followed you and read your devotionals for years. I resonate with you on so many levels. I just wanted to say thank you for teaching me and sharing what God speaks to your heart. You are wonderfully talented! I look forward to reading what you write next. I always learn, ponder, and grow from my time reading here. God bless!

    As to this devotional, I had not ever noticed the part where Jesus sits down to braid a whip! How about that! Very interesting. I agree with you, I believe he is taking a moment to gather himself. I brought it up with my priest hubby and he thinks it could very well be for that reason. Learn something new every day! 😁 I fall short so often and take things out on my poor husband and vice versa. We are always working on that. You list examples and ways to be better and I appreciate that so much.

  2. Barb says:

    The other day I found out that a person I have known over 35 yrs is fake and called me a negative, bitter nasty person and then said you do good but it doesn’t outweigh the bad you have done in your life. This hurt me to my core my past is forgiven by God I no longer am a slave to it(over 25 yrs) but she can’t let it go and neither can my daughter (whom she runs to this person constantly when we fight). This person is very two-faced( always tells me my daughter is crazy), judgemental person( won’t see that people change) who I thought was a great Christian. When I talked to my sister about her she told me she was fake and to not let her be a part of my life. I put on King and Country God only knows, Danny Gokey heartbeat and Chris Tomlins Home and more and just poured my heart out to God. I let it go and into His hands and will everytime it tries to surface. My daughter is a bully and knows how to push my buttons I gave that situation with her to God. Well she did something that I would normally react to but instead I talked to my husband and worked it out. This devotional really helped and I thank God that He always knows what I need and he provides when I need it.

Leave a Reply

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8