Monday, August 6, 2012


If we ignore the emotional components of discipleship in our lives, we will not mature spiritually.  Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Matt. 22:37).  He also said, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 NLT). 

As we grow closer to God, learning and applying more of His truths, faithfully following Jesus – we will most likely come to realize that whole emotional layers of our lives exist that God has not yet touched.  And those emotional layers, unless dealt with, prevent further spiritual maturity. 

Emotional health and spiritual health are inseparable.  Emotional maturity and spiritual maturity are inseparable.  The emotional stability of homes in America is at an all-time low.  According to George Barna the divorce rate for people who describe themselves as Christians is even higher than for the public as a whole.  It’s impossible for a Christian to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.  To say it another way:  If we’re not maturing emotionally we’re not maturing spiritually. 

God is at work transforming you as a whole person.  We are more than spiritual beings.  God made us whole people in His image.  That includes the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and relational dimensions of who are and who we’re becoming.  And one day our physical image will be transformed into glorified supernatural bodies like that of Jesus. God made a promise to every Christian:  God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. (Rom. 8:29 Mes). 

In The Cry of the Soul, Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III speak to the importance of listening to and dealing with our emotions:  “Ignoring our emotions is turning our back on reality; listening to our emotions ushers us into reality.  And reality is where we meet God… Emotions are the language of the soul.  They are the cry that gives the heart a voice… However, we often turn a deaf ear – through emotional denial, distortion, or disengagement.  We strain out anything disturbing in order to gain tenuous control of our inner world.  We are frightened and ashamed of what leaks into our consciousness.  In neglecting our intense emotions, we are false to ourselves and lose a wonderful opportunity to know God.  We forget that change comes through brutal honesty and vulnerability before God.”

As believers in Christ our inner world is to be in sync with our outer behavior.  Many people are unaware they are living with a dichotomy between their inner and outer worlds.  The Bible says “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9 NAS). 

For us to really love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength we must know not only God but also our inner selves – the nature of our own heart, soul, and mind.  And we must give time to this. 

Recall what characterized Adam and Eve in their sin:  shame, loneliness, hiding, self-protection, lying, emotional pain.  These also characterize every one of us who has lived ever since. 

It requires a lot of work, energy, inconvenience, time, courage, solitude, and a firm understanding of God’s grace and love to grow in Christ-likeness.  We remain emotional infants until the emotional component of God’s image in us is exposed and transformed through Jesus Christ.  And it’s then that we discover on an entirely new level the love and grace of God, and our spiritual life with Christ flourishes.

1 comment:

  1. It is so true that are emotions usher us into reality. Sometimes that reality is painful. It brings us to that uncomfortable state of vulnerability. However, if I'm true to my faith in my prayer life I know that I don't need to feel threatened by my vulnerability because if God is for me...who can stand against me? I also know that God is always ready to transform me, but I need to learn how to peel the layers of my emotions back so that I can reveal to myself what I need to surrender to God first. Father, please help me to understand my own heart, soul, and mind so that I might begin to mature in my walk with Christ. Provide me with the direction, patience and guidance to seek that connection between my inner self and my relationship with you. Help me to always be aware of my wholeness that you created within me. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness and for your unending patience as I strive to become a better servant. I ask all of these things in your precious son's name Jesus according to your will...Amen