The Emotions: the Great Indicator

Having no actual word for “emotions” in the Old Testament Hebrew, metonyms were used to express this concept as we know it today. Some examples are the words “bowels,” “kidneys,” and “reins.” One such usage is in I Kings 3:26: “For her bowels yearned upon her son.” The emotions are intended to be the great indicator or red flag to tell us whether or not we are rightly related to God.

The emotions play a tremendous role in the believer’s interaction with the diverse situations he encounters in life. They are the aspect of conscience where feelings are experienced, and have a capacity to respond positively or to react negatively to any given initiation or stimulate. The state of the emotions indicates the condition of the mind, much like physical symptoms indicate the condition of the body.

The Christian life is not to be guided and directed on the basis of emotional responses to situations. One should never allow his feelings to take the place of the mind as the decision maker. When properly functioning, the emotions are relaxed, carefree and do not react in anxiety or frustration. We can refresh the emotions of others by building them up in the Word of God. Philemon 7 says, “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee.”

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