How to Rein in Runaway Emotions

Science has identified a clear link between your thoughts and emotions and your physical and mental well-being. When you think a negative thought toxic chemicals flood your body triggering intense emotions like anger, despair, jealousy, anxiety and bitterness (Who Switched off My Brain? Dr. Caroline Leaf). Allowed to remain, these emotions will destroy your physical, mental and emotional health and rob you of the abundant life Christ promised (John 10:10). No wonder Solomon said, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23).

The good news is these emotions can be controlled and the result may be immediate. Whether your battle with negative emotions and the toxic thoughts that feed them has to do with anger, fear, anxiety, bitterness, or jealousy, I’m going to share with you a spiritual meditation that will enable you to get your emotions and thoughts under your control. This is something within the reach of every believer since self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

Okay, here’s the meditation. Today, or this evening, when you’re alone give this exercise a try.

Imagine you’re standing in a chariot with Jesus to your right. You hold the reins in your hands of twenty horses that are pulling the chariot. The horses from the middle to the right are the fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control–and your best personal qualities and dreams. The horses to the left are your negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These include anger, lust, greed, materialism, jealousy, discontentment, regret and your worst personal traits.

As you are guiding the horses on a straight-ahead walk, a horse to the left named Fear, darts away in a run and the other horses follow. Even though you hold the reins you don’t even think of pulling him back. Instead, all of you–including your best traits–follow Fear. For hours, days, weeks or even months and years, Fear pulls you where it wants you to go. Your every positive emotion, thought and dream is controlled by Fear. The effects are devastating as your brain signals the release of toxic chemicals that can cause a loss of sleep, headaches, diarrhea, sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, impotence and depression. Fear prevents you from taking risks, finding a job, finishing a project, or setting lofty goals. Other negative emotions can have a similar effect.

As the chariot races toward a high cliff Jesus tells you, “Pull the horses back. You control them, they don’t control you.” But you’re too weak. At that moment you feel the hands of Jesus tighten around yours and with it you feel a surge of power. You tug on the reins and Fear, along with the other horses, come around and run in the direction you want them to go.

It’s important to know that your emotions are not you. They are a part of you. You are the charioteer and in Christ’s power you can control your negative emotions by controlling your thoughts. Each and every time you feel Fear running away with you in tow, perform this exercise.

As you do so, you may notice Fear is strong and doesn’t give up easily. That’s because there are other steps you must take to break the pull of a negative emotion. Next week I’ll share with you two questions you must ask yourself each time you feel a negative emotion. The answer to these questions will further break the power of negative emotions.

Expect the best because Jesus will enable you to feel, think, speak and act like him. That’s what The Jesus Experiment is all about–proving he truly does give abundant life.

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