THE HEART IS THE SEED BED OF THE EMOTIONS

Jeremiah 11:20 – But, O Lord of hosts, that judges righteously, who tries the feelings and the heart.

In the KJV, the word for feelings is “reins” and means the innermost feelings. The Jeremiah passage is dealing with judgment. The prophet is crying out to the Lord, who is the only one that looks at a matter righteously. It is God alone that can see the intent of the heart, the motives of an individual, the very “seed bed” of what drives a person.  The word “emotions” is not used in the Scriptures. As we read the Scriptures, we become aware that when we read about feelings and the heart it is referring to one’s emotions.

“You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt (Exodus 23:9). The King James Version translates the word feelings as “heart.” When we speak of having “empathy” for another person, it is because we can relate to what they are going through. The Lord is gracious to make room for this area of our soul. The Lord Himself is moved in His feelings and His heart, (emotions). When Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah on behalf of his nephew Lot, the Lord was moved Abrahams intercession (Genesis 18). Moses, as he interceded on behalf of rebellious Israel, moved God’s heart to repentance, that He would not destroy the children of Israel.

The greatest picture of the Lord’s heart and emotions is seen in the life of Jesus. Many times in the Gospels it is recorded that He was “moved with compassion.” God’s healing; His deliverance, His forgiveness, and His redemption come from the “seed bed of His emotions” toward mankind. Man, because of the evil in his heart, questions the motives of God saying, “If God is love, why does He permit evil and tragedy in the world?” In their hearts, they are blind to the “kindness” of God. “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4-5). 

The subject of human emotions is large. In our next devotion, we will look deeper into this major area of our soul life. As we put on the mind of Christ and think like Jesus, our emotions will be freed to be filled with compassion and kindness while maintaining a strong knowledge and wisdom of God’s word and how to apply it.

Father, I confess that my human emotions take over at times and I am not led by Your Holy Spirit, but by my own feelings. I surrender my emotions to You. I ask that my feelings would be more controlled by the Holy Spirit. Help me to bring together my mind and my emotions in a better way and be more fully led by Your Word and Your Spirit. 

THE SOUL INCLUDES MIND, EMOTIONS, AND WILL

Mark 12:30 – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

In Mark 12:30, Jesus covers four areas in which we are to love the Lord our God. The heart would speak to the emotions. The soul would speak to our whole being. The mind would cover our intellect and strength would cover our will. In the next few devotions we will address the mind, emotions and will as critical areas of the soul which the Holy Spirit desirers to dominate for the kingdom of God.

When we speak of the mind, we are speaking of the intellect. From one’s childhood, mindsets are established in one’s thinking and reasoning. All begin with the natural man whose thinking and reasoning is affected by family up-bringing, education, and life experience. For many, by the time they come to the Lord, their mindsets are well established and changing of one’s mind becomes a great challenge. This is why it is so important to give one’s self to the study of God’s eternal word. The word of God “washes” our mind and removes the abuse that has taken place over the years. Paul instructs the church, “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). God’s purpose in the new birth is not exclusively to get us to heaven, but to give us the capacity to discern or appraise spiritually. Paul goes on to say in the 16th verse, “We have the mind of Christ.” Daily, we can give up the natural mind of man and activate the mind of Christ. His mind is in us by the work of the Holy Spirit. All the potential of Christ’s mind is in our spirit. Through God’s word and through God’s dealings in our life, we learn to surrender our natural mind and receive His.

Years ago my spiritual father taught me to pray, “Help me to see things from Your point of view. Help me to see from heaven’s perspective.” One day the Lord challenged me by asking, “Do you believe I am answering your prayer”? I said, “Yes I do.” He then instructed me to receive the things He was showing me and not to argue or think they were merely my thoughts. He said to me, “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

The “spiritual man” receives from the Spirit of God. Our mind, that is, our intellect, is to be dominated by Christ. Paul, the apostle was one of the most educated men of his day, but he had to surrender his education to Christ and as he said, “Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Phil 3:7-9). Is it your highest goal to gain Christ?

Father, today I commit my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength to you. Give me heaven’s point of view in all that I do and fill me with Your love through the Holy Spirit’s power.

GLORIFICATION

1 Corinthians 15:42-43 – So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.

Glorification is the final result of salvation for God’s triune creation man. In our spirit, we are in right standing before God. In our soul, we are sanctified or set apart to God. Our bodies will be glorified at His appearing when the dead in Christ will rise. Paul describes the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. He makes several comparisons to the natural creation. He begins with questions concerning the resurrection. “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” (1 Corinthians 15:35). Paul compares the resurrection to a seed that first must be buried in the ground. When it comes to life, the body that is produced does not look like the seed that was planted.  Each seed is given a body of its own. Paul describes the many types of flesh that have bodies. He describes heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. He speaks of the differences in the heavenly bodies and their glory such as the sun, the moon, and the stars. The stars themselves differ in their glory.

Paul says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-45).

The Lord’s coming and the resurrection of the dead has been the glorious hope of the church throughout the ages. Just as God raised Christ from the dead and joined His spirit, soul, and body in resurrected life, He will do the same for every believer. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).

What could I ever hope to add to Paul’s inspired words? Today, simply bask in the promise of our glorified bodies. Rejoice in the blessed hope of the church. Hope toward the day that we will all be as He is, glorified, fulfilling all the Father has willed.

Father, this is the day that You have made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank You for Your complete salvation. Holy Spirit, help me to walk in the resurrection life and power of the Lord Jesus Christ until the day I am joined with Him and see Jesus face to face.

SANCTIFIED

ohn 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

The word sanctification means “to be set apart. The Word of God testifies that those who have put their faith in Christ have been set apart for God’s eternal purposes. In Jesus’ high priestly prayer, He is requesting His Father to “sanctify the disciples in the truth.” Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). We too are called to be His disciples. If one is a disciple of the Lord Jesus, that one is sanctified through Christ. The Scriptures declare that we are set apart to the Father. Jesus, the truth, has set us apart for His kingdom. The Holy Spirit has been given to empower us in our sanctification.

Justification deals with our position in Christ before the Father. Sanctification deals with our daily walk in surrendering our life to the Father’s will. Sanctification is the process of our daily salvation. Paul instructs us, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). In justification we trust the work of Christ for our redemption. In sanctification, we have a part in the work. Sanctification is a life of obedience to the Father, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“If you continue in My word, then are you truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). This is a qualifying statement by Jesus. There are many which say, “I believe in Jesus.” The question becomes, what do you believe? In the gospel, belief is not a mental assent, but rather a life surrendered to the King of kings. It is a life sanctified for the Master’s purpose.  A disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ bears witness of faith by the life they live. Jesus’ word to Saul on the road to Damascus tells him of the Lord’s call on his life toward the Gentiles which was “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

The disciple of Christ is justified, sanctified and one day will be glorified when Christ returns for His own. What a salvation He has given us! In our next devotion, we will look at glorification, the future dimension of our three-fold salvation.

Father, I am grateful for all You have done for me in Christ. I ask for the Holy Spirit to help me live out my salvation daily for Your glory. I receive Your sanctifying power to obey and separate myself to Your eternal purposes in and through my life.

JUSTIFIED

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Romans 4, Paul lays the foundation of justification by faith from the life of Abraham as recorded in the Old Testament. He tells us that Abraham’s faith was “credited to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:22).  Not for his sake only, but for our sake also (Vs. 23). So Paul begins Romans 5 with “Therefore” having referred to Abraham in chapter 4. Abraham walked in peace with God, knowing that God was faithful. We too have peace with God as we have trusted the Lord Jesus in faith. It is faith that leads to “justification.” Justification takes place in our spirit man. The Lord sees us just as if we have never sinned. He sees us through the cross of Christ.

The first phase of our salvation takes place in our spirit. Our spirit has been regenerated, or born again. The work of justification brings us into a right standing with God. Our position before Him is not only forgiven, but accepted in every way because of the work of Christ. The penalty of sin has been paid in full by the Lord Jesus. We were baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit when we were born again. I am not speaking about water baptism, but the Spirit’s work of immersing us into the body. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

The blood of Christ gives testimony in our spirit to the Father that we are justified, having authority to stand before the Throne of Grace, knowing that we are sons and daughters of the living God. God faith works in our spirit. We have a sure expectation of God’s promises. We have God’s love ruling in our spirit and a reverential fear of God. True worship flows from the new birth of our regenerated man. In our spirit, we become God-conscious, whereas before the new birth took place in us, we were self-conscious.

The Tabernacle of the Old Testament provides a symbol of God’s triune man. The holy of holies speaks of the spirit of man which is the dwelling place of Christ. God’s covenant is sealed by Christ’s blood. Jesus offered His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus applies His blood to our spirit as the High Priest would apply the blood of the sacrificial lamb to the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat each year on behalf of God’s covenant people.  

Father, I thank You for what You have done in Christ for me. Thank You for the blood of Christ which has been applied to my spirit man. Thank You for all of the provisions You have made for my spirit and my right standing in Your presence.

REIGNING IN LIFE

Romans 5:17 – For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

The reign in life is present, not simply future. The Scriptures are clear that we died when we were buried with Christ. We rose from the dead when we were raised up in His resurrection. “When we were dead in our transgressions, God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Ephesians 2:5).

We are aware that our body has five senses. They are extremely helpful in navigating in this natural world. The problem is that because the senses are connected to the natural world, they feed the appetites of the flesh. The entire book of James deals with this reality. Consider James’ statement, “Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust” (James 1:13). Temptation enters through the eye and ear gate. John speaks to this when he says, “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father” (1 John 2:16).   

Our daily challenge is to bring the natural man into submission to the spiritual man. It is the will of God that we reign in this life with Christ. Ruling our soul and our body is the key to ruling in other areas. Paul taught, “By grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5). The theme of God’s grace is seen throughout the entire New Testament. For some, grace is only speaking of God’s gift of eternal life. It is true, “I am a sinner, saved by grace,” but there is so much more. Paul teaches, “So that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21).  The reign through righteousness to eternal life is in the now, not just the future. Paul declares how grace operates, “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). Paul goes on to say that his battle is not rooted in human motives. “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have not the knowledge of God” (1 Corinthians 15:34).

The attitude of grace is, I have died with Christ, I am buried with Christ and I am alive in the power of His resurrection. The attitude of grace is, I too may walk in newness of life. The attitude of grace is, certainly, I shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.

Take time to study thoroughly Romans 6 to grasp Paul’s view of grace and reigning in life through Christ.

Father, I thank You for Your amazing grace applied to my life. I surrender my body to You, along with my soul and spirit. I claim the prayer of the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, that You would sanctify me entirely; that my spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.