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Trust God, Not Your Emotions

Your emotions go up and down, but God is dependable

Doug Britton, MFT

Page Summary
Summary: Trust God, not your emotions. (Your emotions go up and down, but God is always faithful.)

Part 2 of a 4-part series on “Trusting God”

Part 1      Part 3      Part 4

Introduction: The power of our emotions

One reason we have trouble trusting God is that we trust our emotions. Our emotions go up and down, but God never changes.

I’m sure you know it’s hard not to trust your emotions. As you read this study, ask God to help you trust him and what he says in his word (the Bible)—not your emotions.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me (John 14:1)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Trust what the Bible says

The Bible is the Word of God. It draws us closer to Jesus, instructs us, inspires us, comforts us, convicts us of sin, and tells us how to live godly lives.

The Bible covers it all, including marriage, parenting, communication, forgiveness, decision-making, finances, temptation, and depression. The One who created us shows us in his Word how to live fulfilling, joyful lives.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)

Related: Why should I read the Bible?

Are emotions always bad or untrustworthy?

We shouldn’t be controlled by our feelings, but that doesn’t mean all our emotions are bad. God gave us emotions, and they are part of what it means to be human.

  • We can enjoy them.
  • We can learn from (and be warned by) them.
  • We can (sometimes) be guided by them.

Make it personal

4. Describe a situation in which it would be wise to pay attention to your emotions. Explain your answer.

Trust God’s love and forgiveness

I have counseled thousands of people. Many of them said they didn’t think God loved them. Likewise, many said they didn’t think God forgave them for their sins.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Related: Living by Grace

Pray to see through God’s eyes

It’s hard not to do what our emotions tell us. If we feel angry, we may stew quietly, make critical comments, or blow up. If we feel jealous, we may level bitter attacks on others. When we think no one loves us, we may slip into depression. These are normal responses, yet the Bible shows us how to look at what’s happening on a deeper level.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he wrote that we are seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)

Imagine that you are seated beside Christ in the heavenly realms and looking down at what’s going on. Ask God to help you see from Jesus’ perspective instead of seeing through your own eyes and emotions. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

When you try to look at things through Jesus’ eyes, it helps you grasp the big picture and not get so caught up in your emotions. For example, if someone says something cruel or insensitive, you are less likely to be upset if you realize:

  • The other person may have a personal problem, and you don’t need to take his or her words personally—even if the words were meant to be taken personally.
  • You may be partly to blame for the problem.
  • You may not have handled the situation the way Jesus wanted.
  • You may have misinterpreted what was said.
  • The other person may have had a bad day.
  • The other person may be sick or tired.

Related: Let the Holy Spirit change you

Identify your emotions, then choose to trust what God says

Practice self-awareness as you go through the day. Listen to your thoughts and your emotions. Then, when you notice you aren’t trusting God in an area of your life, ask God to help you trust his Word. Instead of believing your emotions, choose to believe what the Bible says.

Here are some common things people say, followed by verses that show what God says:

“I don’t have a purpose in life.”

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

“I am ugly.”

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)

“I can’t stop worrying.”

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

“I was never born again.”

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Acts 2:21)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

“I am worthwhile because I am rich.”

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant. (1 Timothy 6:17)

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Memory verse

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1)

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About Doug Britton, MFT

Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)

Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.

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