The Bible isn’t silent about emotions and feelings. Many biblical characters get angry, sad, happy, and everything in between. Even Jesus displayed emotion during his time on earth.
Emotions and feelings aren’t inherently bad, as long as you don’t allow them to fester. Most of the time, it’s our response to feelings that’s the issue. However, we also want to be careful to not be led by emotion.
Keep reading to learn more about what the Bible says about emotions and feelings.
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Bible Verses About Emotions and Feelings
Here are some Bible verses about emotions and feelings:
- Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known by God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (ESV).
- Proverbs 15:18 – “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention” (ESV).
- Romans 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (ESV).
- Proverbs 15:13 – “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed” (ESV).
- Ephesians 4:26-27 – “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (ESV).
- John 11:35 – “Jesus wept” (ESV).
There are many other verses, but you get the picture. Emotions and feelings are a normal part of life and are talked about in the Bible.
What is the purpose of emotions and feelings?
We all have emotions and feelings and they aren’t necessarily bad. When Jesus lived on the earth, he showed a wide range of emotions and still had no sin (1 Peter 2:22, Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5).
So, it’s not a sin to merely have emotions and feelings. When does it become sin then? Emotions and feelings become sinful when you allow them to fester and affect you or others negatively or when they’re rooted in a lie.
So, what’s the purpose of emotions and feelings? Well, to an extent, emotions and feelings are good. They’re an indicator in your life.
I’ve had lonely seasons in my life. This loneliness was an indicator that I needed community. It wasn’t a sin for me to feel sad about not having a community, but it did become sinful when I allowed myself to stay in that place.
However, I want to be clear that emotions and feelings are not guides. Just because you feel something doesn’t make it true. Your feelings can deceive you.
I’ve also felt God wasn’t close to me and didn’t care about me. This wasn’t true. God was and always has been with me. What I felt was rooted in a lie and not the truth.
When examining your emotions and feelings, ask yourself if this feeling is valid or if it’s rooted in a lie.
Learn How to Control Your Emotions and Feelings Biblically
If you feel like you’re a mess emotionally, you’re not alone. I felt like a victim to my feelings and I didn’t think it was possible to control them.
Keep reading to learn how to control your emotions and feelings biblically.
#1 Recognize your emotions and feelings.
Keep a handy notebook on you for a week. Whenever you have an emotion or feeling, write it down. This will teach you to become more aware of what you’re feeling, rather than allowing feelings to come and go.
When you don’t address a feeling/emotion, it has the power to come back later on. It’s best to confront things head-on.
#2 Examine your emotions and feelings.
After you’ve recognized your emotions and feelings for a week, examine them. Ask yourself where your feelings stem from. Why have you been feeling this way? Does it stem from a lack of something? Is it rooted in false beliefs?
Record your response to these questions in your notebook so you don’t forget.
#3 Talk to God about your emotions and feelings.
Now that you’ve recognized and examined your emotions and feelings, talk to God about them. He cares about what you’re going through and what you’re feeling.
If you’re unsure what your feelings/emotions are rooted in, ask God to reveal it to you. God is faithful to answer prayers.
#4 Don’t let your emotions and feelings lead you.
If you’ve done the last three steps, you realize where your feelings stem from. Now, it’s up to you how you react to these feelings.
Your emotions are meant to be indicators but not guides. Don’t allow your emotions to lead you. Emotions are fickle – they come and go. They aren’t always rooted in the truth. Sometimes, they’re rooted in lies.
Instead of allowing your emotions to lead you, examine them and use them as an indicator to figure out what needs to change in your life. God’s word is the ultimate authority. Do your feelings align with the truth?
#5 Trust God and think of the blessings in your life.
Did you know that your thoughts often dictate your feelings and emotions? What you think about matters.
If you’ve noticed that your thoughts tend to be negative, shift your focus to the positive and true things in your life. The Bible instructs us to focus on these kinds of things.
It states, “finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
Your Emotions Are a Gauge, Not a Guide
Remember, your emotions are a gauge, not a guide. Feelings are not facts. They’re not meant to lead us—they’re simply an indicator of something in your life.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be emotional. Jesus showed emotion during his ministry on earth, but he knew how to control his emotions and not allow them to lead.
John Piper, from Desiring God, says this:
“God designed your emotions to be gauges, not guides. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you. The pattern of your emotions (not every caffeine-induced or sleep-deprived one!) will give you a reading on where your hope is because they are wired into what you believe and value — and how much. That’s why emotions like delight (Psalm 37:4), affection (Romans 12:10), fear (Luke 12:5), anger (Psalm 37:8), joy (Psalm 5:11), etc., are so important in the Bible. They reveal what your heart loves, trusts, and fears. At Desiring God we like to say pleasure is the measure of your treasure, because the emotion of pleasure is a gauge that tells you what you love.” —Desiring God
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