While at Roberts Wesleyan College, majoring in Religion Philosophy and minoring in Psychology, I did a paper for my psychology course which I titled “The Psychology of Revivals.” I truly desired to be part of a revival.
Revivals are Christological in focus and emotionally fervent
My concluding statement in that paper was that “revivals are Christological in focus and emotionally fervent.” To put that in plain English, revivalist preaching focuses on the life of Jesus, and revivals involve a great amount of emotional intensity.
That saddened me for several reasons. I was taught dispensationalism, the belief that the lifestyle of Jesus was not available to me during this time period. That meant I could not hear God's voice, see visions, or move in the power of the Holy Spirit. This belief pushed me toward preaching from Paul's epistles since doctrine now became central, displacing an intimate love relationship with Jesus. Another reason I rejected revivals was because there was no way I was going to lower myself to be governed by my emotions. You see, at that point in my life I strongly believed that emotions were soulish, unreliable and untrustworthy. They had no place in a mature Christians lifestyle. Theology and the mind ruled.
So I made a terrible decision
“It’s too bad that I will never be able to be part of revival."
However, today God has completely changed my mind about this. I have rejected dispensationalism and I believe that I can live the lifestyle of Jesus. I believe Jesus’ death on the cross provided at least 12 divine life-transforming exchanges. My preaching centers on us replicating the lifestyle of Jesus. Jesus lives within us through the Holy Spirit. His love, grace and power flow out through the heart of every Christian and this transforms every aspect of our lives.
I now live focused on Jesus, seeing Jesus at my right hand (Acts 2:25; Ps. 16:8), and turning to Him for His input about everything I do. I no longer need to ask, “What WOULD Jesus do?” I now ask, “Jesus, what ARE You doing?” He isn’t dead or un-communicative. He is alive, Immanuel, God with us. As His sheep, we hear His voice (Jn. 10:27). We get to live and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).
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Concerning emotions: Are they really all that bad?
Spurgeon discusses the fact that the compassion Jesus felt was so strong the Gospel writers needed to create a new word to describe it. They turned the word "compassion" from a noun to a verb. Jesus, moved by compassion, healed (Matt. 14:14). Compassion was the carrier wave upon which healing power rode.
God sent Ezekiel “embittered in the rage of his spirit" (Ezek. 3:14). Here we find an example of an emotion that is in his spirit, not his soul. It was put there by God and it was a driving force of his ministry! Wow!
Roaring sure involves emotional intensity. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah roars at the enemy (Hos. 11:10). This emotional intensity, once again, is a carrier wave for the power of the Holy Spirit to destroy the works of the enemy.
Proper use of mind, will and emotions
It is interesting that even though I believed mind, will and emotions were soulish and to be set aside by a spiritual Christian, all I actually set aside was emotions (except anger, which I clung on to). I still used my mind to build a theology concerning the Lord, and I still set my will to come against sin in my life. So it was really only most emotions that I rejected. However, that way of using my mind and the will was also incorrect.
- Now I present my mind to the Lord, asking for Him to illumine my thoughts as He did the disciples on the Emmaus road, and the result is that I experience my heart burning within as He opens Scriptures to me (Lk. 24:32).
- Concerning my will: Now, rather than setting my will to attack sin, I set my will to come to Jesus and ask Him to circumcise my heart of sinful desires, and give me a new heart. I set my will to ask the Holy Spirit to anoint me with the power of Almighty God. He does.
- Concerning emotions, I gaze upon the pictures God gives me, and His resulting emotions flow. This is because emotions are by-products of the pictures I gaze upon. So I can always have the Kingdom emotions of love, joy and peace (Rom. 14:17) by simply deciding to ONLY gaze upon the pictures of what Jesus is doing!
Does honoring emotions cause marriages to become unstable, or might emotions strengthen a marriage?
People might ask, "Well, what happens when the emotion of romance wears off in your marriage? If you are allowing emotions to influence you, aren't you setting yourself up for a divorce?" Not really, because I have already asked God for His vision concerning my wife and our marriage. His response was to honor Patti the way He made her and to love and cherish her and help her fulfill her destiny. She is perfectly designed by God to complement me and help me fulfill God’s destiny for my life, even as I help her fulfill God’s destiny for her life. Since emotions are by-products of pictures, and I am gazing upon godly pictures concerning the gift that my marriage is, love and romance continue strong. Even lost love can be restored by remembering your first love, and going back to do the things you once did (Rev. 2:4,5). Gazing upon God’s picture of the gift that your spouse is will restore love, honor and appreciation for the fact God puts opposites together so we can become whole. A woman wants and needs to feel emotional warmth from her husband, so honoring emotions will strengthen your marriage.
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Related Resources:How to Be Emotionally Free! How to Be Empowered by the Holy Spirit! How to Hear God's Voice! Spiritual Transformations