March 17, 2009
The Foundation of Emotions, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll
Unlike animals, God made humans in His image. This is clearly stated in the first book of the Bible:
God created man in His own image, in the image of God
He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Breaking that down to its simplest form, God made Adam and Eve like Himself. And what would that include? He gave them intellectual ability---which is often referred to in the Scriptures as the mind. He also gave them emotional capabilities---which is frequently called the heart. And He gave them volitional capacity---which is the will. His desire was that they would use their minds to know God . . . and from their hearts, they would love God . . . and with their wills, they would obey God.
Great plan---but sin changed everything. When Adam and Eve sinned, their minds were blinded to the things of God, their hearts turned from loving Him to being afraid of Him, and their wills became stubborn and resistant, causing them to disobey rather than obey.
It's important to realize that, while we still bear God's image (we have a mind, emotion, and a will), the consequences of their sin remain with us today. Adam and Eve, having no parents, were created in perfection and were spiritually alive. However, when sin took place, it contaminated everything in them and around them, like a fast-moving polluted river. As a result, when we were born, that pollution was passed along, making us sinful creatures. So were our parents and theirs as well.
Unlike Adam and Eve, we were born spiritually dead, which means that in order to know God and love God and obey God, we need a spiritual rebirth. That's what Jesus meant when He said, "You must be born again" (John 3:7). That happens the moment we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ---who died on the cross for our sins and rose again. Apart from a relationship with Him, knowing God personally isn't a possibility, loving God intimately cannot occur, and obeying God willingly won't happen.
Before we go further into the subject of our emotions in the next several devotionals, trying to understand how they work and why they affect us so significantly, it's important that these things not only be understood but accepted by faith.
If you have never trusted in Christ, let me urge you to do so right now.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.