Godly Emotion

Thoughts after a hard weekend.

Job applications seem to pole vault into space, going nowhere and getting noticed by no one.

Networking with CEOs and circulating my resume begins with active excitement and becomes muddy radio silence.

Small business ideas are tossed into a ring with college interns and ripped to shreds, along with my pride.

Everyone and their aunt are popping out babies — everyone but me.

Ask any human, these are reason enough to break into tempestuous fits, to complain and grumble, to slip into depression. It’s human nature.

But Christians are not called to human nature.

Christians are called to rejoice in trials, not to complain. Complaining against events and situations, or lack thereof, is complaining against the Lord, claiming He is in unjust.

“Behold, let me tell you, you are not right in this,
For God is greater than man.

“Why do you complain against Him
That He does not give an account of all His doings?”

Job 33:12-13

Since we are called to rejoice in the Lord, to not bicker or grumble against the God of the universe, since we have been saved by the grace of God through the death of Jesus Christ — since we are His ambassadors, He calls us to be peaceful in conflict or upheaval, content in times of demotion or withheld desires, joyful in times of sorrow, sure in times of doubt.

 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will [i]prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

Philippians 2:14-18

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Romans 8:28-30

We find this confidence in His promises, in His grace and mercy. Despite popular belief, our best life is not now. Our best life is yet to come, when Christ returns or when we die. In such a light, the troubles on this earth seem minuscule compared to the glory of heaven and the victory over death through Jesus. And instead of becoming burdensome, the trials become a wellspring of spiritual growth and evangelism. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, we praise God in the presence of others, who, knowing our situation, knowing our struggle, will be pointed to Jesus Christ.

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:18-21

So, as Christians, we cannot despair, we cannot weep, we cannot mourn in the knowledge of this hope. Our joy is so full, how can we indulge in tears?

But is it sinful for a Christian to cry?

Is it wallowing in despair when a Christian lies in bed at night and soaks the pillow with tears?

Is it denying Christ to crumble on the floor, on the couch, in the car, at a Bible study, in church, to melt into a sudden burst of emotions when the weight of a trial is realized?

Leaning on emotions, excusing sinful emotions, and finding identity in emotions is sin. Weeping bitterly and out of anger or stinging pride is a sin.

But God created us in His image and He is not a monotonous God. He does not have one tone, one facet to His limitless, perfect personality. God has a range of pure emotions. We have emotions because God has emotions. And although Jesus rose blameless above the sin found in emotions while on earth, He still wept; He still felt sadness. God knows our hearts. He understands our struggle. He has felt our pain.

So to the heavy-hearted Christian, feeling unworthy and useless under the weight of trial: cry out to Jesus. Pour your tearful soul to Him. Let Him comfort you with His word, let Him remind you of His love, let Him envelope you with His peace. Because He knows the conflict, the weight, the battle we are facing. He understands our sadness. And when you cry out to Him, He won’t let you remain in it.

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