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.