Jesus, the Good Shepherd, wants to find and befriend your lost emotions.
You probably know Jesus’ parable about the shepherd leaving the ninety-nine sheep to find the one that’s lost. (Luke 15:1-7). But have you ever put yourself in that story? Not only before you trusted in Christ for salvation, but also in your life today?
This story is for you and I today. Salvation in the Bible is not only a “crossing the line” event of trusting Christ for forgiveness and new life, it’s also a whole-life process of becoming more like Christ by learning how to rely on God’s grace in daily life.
We all get lost at times. We can’t find our way forward or don’t know what to do because we don’t know where we are. When you can locate yourself on a map then you can find your way to your destination.
The Lord Jesus describes our location as being like sheep without a shepherd, scattered, lost, wandering about aimlessly (Matthew 9:36).
He’s offering his tender heart to help us grow in self-awareness:
- “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:36 and 51)
- “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
- “Ask and keep asking and it will be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
- “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out religion? Come to me…” (Matthew 11:28, MSG)
- Are you thirsty? I have living waters for you! (John 4:10)
These are questions of empathy. Christ Jesus is putting himself in our skin. (That’s his incarnation!) He cares about how you’re feeling in your life. He wants to know you personally. He delights to find and care for whatever emotions or longings are lost (unconscious) inside of you.
How have we missed the importance of empathy? Why have we made the spiritual life all about thinking and behaving? Why do we think feelings are just the caboose that lags along?
Well, even the caboose can be an engine! A careful, honest look at your life shows the power of emotions, even — or especially! — if you’re not very self-aware.
Consider your hormones, moods, opinions, loss of temper, compulsive behaviors, the things you do that you didn’t want to do. Your emotions have a HUGE impact on your thoughts, choices, and actions.
If you’re still not convinced just ask the people who are close to you! They’re being impacted by your emotions.
To think and act with wisdom we need to pay attention to our emotions. This is why we teach the dictum: “Don’t say or do until you think and feel.”
Here are some practical ideas to receive Jesus’ ministry of finding and befriending your lost emotions:
- Learn to pray a lament Psalm. (The articles includes a free one page template.)
- Try “Immanuel Journaling.” (This was developed by our friends and Soul Shepherding Associates John and Sungshim Loppnow. Check out their Facebook page and their booklet “Joyful Journey.”)
- Get together with a “gentle shepherd” friend and take turns listening and caring for one another’s raw and real stuff.
- Listen to “Soul Talks With Bill & Kristi Gaultiere”. Our 20-30 minute weekly conversations will help you learn to give and receive the “spiritual empathy” that ministers the presence of Christ.
Did you like this devotional? It’s from a new book “Soul Shepherding” that we’re working on. Please pray for us with this.
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