Where is Your Heart? My Spouse IS NOT An Idol Series, Pt 2
Loving God with Your Emotions
Some teachers/pastors/Christians will tell you that loving God with our emotions is wrong. Perhaps that is because emotional experiences (i.e. the mountain top experience) are often equated as lacking true depth and conviction.
But this is unbiblical!
We are called to love and worship God with our everything, and this includes our emotions. While you shouldn’t base your entire relationship with God or your understanding of His doctrine entirely on emotions, it is dangerous and unbiblical to allow doctrine to purge all emotions from your relationship with God.
God doesn’t just want lip service [Matthew 15:8]. God wants all of you – completely and wholly – and He wants you to experience His love for us and to love Him and others as He loves. God does not desire an emotionless relationship with us. He created us, in His image, to experience and express emotions.
Our God is a God of emotions, and we see numerous examples of Jesus experiencing and expressing emotions: when Lazarus died, Jesus wept (pain), when Jesus walked into the temple and turned over the tables of the money changers (anger), when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked for the cup to be passed from Him (sorrow).
The heart (emotions) are anything but shallow. The Greek word for ‘heart’ is kardia which is defined by Strong’s Greek Concordance as “ the center and seat of spiritual life, ‘the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors.'”
In Matthew 6:21, Jesus says “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When you treasure, prize, and love your spouse more than you love God, these emotions affect your thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors. Christ needs to be at your center. Christ needs to be your treasure.
- Proverbs 7:2-3 says, “Keep My (Wisdom – personified in Jesus) commands and you will live; guard My teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
- Colossians 2:3 tells us that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
- Psalm 112:1 tells us those that “cherish and relish His commandments” are blessed.
- In Psalm 119:48, the Psalmist leads us by example by saying, “I cherish Your commandments—oh, how I love them!— relishing every fragment of Your counsel“(MSG).
To place your spouse in this position, to allow your love for your spouse to trump love of God, is to worship an idol.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 24:3-5, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.”
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who or in what do you trust the most?
- Who and what do you treasure most?
- Who or what are you most passionate about?
- What do you desire the most in life?
- Where do you for fulfillment?
- What gives you purpose?
- Who or what affects you the most emotionally or provokes the most emotional response?
Let God Redeem Your Emotions
- Allow the Spirit and God’s Word [Hebrews 4:12] to convict your heart if you’ve been placing someone or something before God.
- Get in the habit of praising God!
- Regularly confess your sins before God and ask for forgiveness. [Acts 8:22]
- Confess your idols before God and ask Him to purify your heart [1 John 1:9].
- Spend quiet time with God daily. It doesn’t need to be hours on end. Just make sure you get at least a few moments alone with God to read His Word and pray. [Psalm 32:6; Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Matthew 6:6]
- Meditate on and memorize Scripture. [Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:97]
- Let your spouse know that you’re struggling or have been struggling with placing him/her before God, and ask your spouse to pray for you [James 5:16]. Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse to pray for specifics like: please pray for renewed purpose found in Christ or please pray that I would find my fulfillment first and foremost in God.
- Go to God with your frustrations and fears. When you’re stressed out, upset, confused, worried, or afraid, instead of turning to your spouse first for comfort (or other things), turn first to God. Ask the Lord to give you a spirit of peace. [Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7]
- When you’re angry, don’t let that be an excuse to sin. How you respond in anger reflects your heart’s condition.
- When something good has happened in your life, give God the glory by giving Him the credit, praising, and thanking Him.
- Get into the practice of being thankful. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down one thing from each day for a week that you are grateful for and see the difference in your heart by the end of the following week. (I’d also recommend you keep going longer than that.)
- Trust in the Lord for all your needs. [Philippians 4:19]
- Trust in the Lord in times of trouble. [Psalm 56:3; Psalm 46:1-3]
- Trust in the Lord for strength. [Isaiah 40:31]
- Desire God first! Eve desired to be like God more than she desired a relationship with God. As part of Eve’s curse, “her desire will be for her husband.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing to desire your husband. But you must desire God first! [Matthew 6:33]
*See last week’s post: 6 Ways to Guard Against Making Your Spouse An Idol. Come back next week for a post on how to love God with your spirit.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…”
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Share with Us
Does today’s post give you new insight on what it means to love God with all your heart? How do you love God with your emotions? How else do you allow God to redeem your emotions?