Emotions bear fruit in our relationships. If our emotions are toxic, then we will grow toxic fruit with others. But if our emotions are healthy, then we will grow healthy fruit.
But how do we minimize the toxic and maximize the healthy emotions that we need? There are fantastic Christian counselors who provide wonderful insight and give us powerful tools to understand more fully the “how” and “why” of our emotions. I encourage everyone to spend some time talking to these Christian professionals so that we get a handle on our emotions (Call First Norfolk for recommendations).
We also have a constant Counselor with us who guides us through our emotional journey: the Holy Spirit. When followers of Jesus allow the Spirit to set the trajectory of their lives, their emotions will flow toward health.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16, NKJV)
The most powerful way to have victorious, satisfied relationships is to submit continuously to the Spirit. He leads and we follow. “Walk in the Spirit” is a continuous action by which we constantly, moment by moment, live intimately in-tune with God through the Spirit. We stop, take a breath, and pray. The Spirit listens, gives leadership, and loves us so that our emotions bear the fruit of the Spirit in our relationships.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Galatians 5:22, NKJV)
The fruit of the Spirit is love (agape). The source from which all the other ingredients of the fruit flow is the love of God poured into our hearts and expressed in our relationships with others by the Spirit who dwells within us. This love is the love of God unveiled in the giving of Jesus for sinners (1 John 4:9). As we persistently yield to the Spirit, the Spirit ignites God’s love in our heart. He warms our soul with a love that satisfies us completely so that we can.
Joy (chara) flows from the love of God poured in our heart, and through this love we become ambassadors of this joy with others. This joy is not a mood, like being happy or “not sad.” It is the state of the soul satisfied in fellowship with God regardless the circumstances. Therefore, as we relate to others, we are ambassadors of joy because we are ambassadors of Christ, satisfied in fellowship with God by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Peace (eirēnē) in Scripture is the fullness of life. It is the knowledge that our future rests in the hands of a loving Father who loves us perfectly. It is the comfort that our troubles do not have the final say, but the Lord of Love is working today on our behalf. Peace is not a seasonal remedy for a perennial malady. This peace is forever through the gracious love of God to humanity through Jesus Christ the King!
When the Spirit transforms our emotions, the love of God warms our heart, produces joy that time and circumstances can’t touch, and gives us a satisfaction and fullness in our soul. Our emotions flourish in the soil of the Spirit’s presence and grow the fruit of love, joy, and peace. Because we know that we are loved, we can love others more fully. Because we have joy, we can lead others to joy. Because we have peace, we aren’t trying to control others in a selfish way.
So, today, do the hard work of submitting to the Spirit so that your emotions are transformed from toxic to healthy.
Stop. Take a breath. And pray:
“God, as I submit to Your Spirit, will You transform my emotions so that they produces the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace) in my relationships.”