Your Emotions Matter to Jesus

We are all experiencing a myriad of intense emotions in this season.

Did you know that 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 when you trusted in Christ for salvation, but also in your life today?

Today Jesus wants to shepherd you in this story. 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).

Our Shepherd offers 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 on religion? Come to me…” (Matthew 11:28, MSG).
  • “Are you thirsty? I have living waters for you!” (John 4:10, paraphrased).

These are questions of empathy. Christ Jesus is putting himself in our skin. (That’s his incarnation; John 1:14.) He cares about how you’re feeling. He wants to know you personally. He delights to find and care for whatever emotions or longings are lost (or 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 — for success or failure, for loving others well or not.

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.

Just ask the people who are close to you and they’ll tell you how they’re being impacted by your emotions. They’ll tell you that if you’re peaceful it’s a blessing, but if you’re angry it’s hurtful.

To think and act with wisdom, you need to befriend your 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 feeling your lost emotions:

  • Get together with a “gentle shepherd” friend and take turns listening and caring for one another’s raw and real stuff.
  • Pray the Psalms which feature the whole range of human emotions.
  • Try one of our Prayer Guides that teach you step-by-step how to use beloved Scripture passages to prayer your emotions in your devotions or with a friend.

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Listen to this week’s SoulTalk: We can imagine Jesus as a thinker, a teacher, or a leader, but have you ever thought of Jesus being a feeler? Jesus felt many emotions that we do including fear, worry, and even shame. This allows him to enter into our life experiences with us and feel what we feel with empathy and compassion. Join this conversation as Bill and Kristi unpack what it means to see Jesus as a feeler and how that helps us experience greater intimacy with him. 

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