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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Dangers of Emotional Compulsion

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Today there is much talk about obsessions and compulsions: cutting, gorging on food, ritual hand washing, addictions, etc. It is clear that many lack control of their thoughts and emotions. However, emotional control is essential for effective Christian discipleship. It reveals spiritual maturity.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, . .” (Jer 17:9, 10).

Emotion can cause us to exchange reality for what one chooses to believe. Natural compulsions drive us to satisfy desires beyond the limits ordained by God (Gen 3:1-6). In following Satan’s suggestion that they could be as God, they became like Satan. They rejected God’s Word and the One who rewards those who seek Him (Heb 11:6). As history testifies this led to perverted expressions corrupting their lives (Gal 6:7, 8a).

Godly meditation in God’s Word with separation from ungodly influences (Ps 1:1-4) are spiritual weapons to have a godly emotional control. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Cor 10:4, 5).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:1, 2).

 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Emotions are subject to suggestion. Therefore we must guard the mind from ungodly suggestions. To love Christ we must exercise our minds and by choice our wills. This is the reason for Bible study, fellowship with believers, daily devotions, and worship.

The disciple must learn to hate sin, and avoid its dangers and solicitations. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled..."

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Rom 6:13).

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” ( 2 Cor 13:5).

The disciple must overcome compulsions that compromise the Gospel witness. 

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3).

This is how the disciple must live until "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph 4:13-15).

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