But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law. Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another and envying one another.
– Galatians 5:22-26 MEV.
Would you like to become more emotionally healthy? The good news is that every believer has the potential for improved emotional health that increasingly manifests the character of Jesus Christ. How? By the power of the Holy Spirit.
Near the end of his powerful letter to the Galatians, Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reminds us that our emotional life and character flow from only one of two streams—the flesh or the Spirit. Because Jesus lived by the Spirit and sent the Spirit to empower our lives, we can live by the same power.
Paul takes his language in Galatians 5:25 from the military. When a platoon goes out for a hike, everyone follows the highest commanding officer, keeping in step and staying in line. Otherwise, a soldier can wander off and get shot by the enemy. So it is for each Christian, the Holy Spirit is our commanding officer, and we must follow His leadership over our entire lives—including our emotional lives—or risk becoming taken captive by our enemy (the devil).
It is common to think that God is not sovereign, but rather our emotions are. Whatever we feel, it is as if those feelings have a life unto themselves and we cannot be held responsible for them but only for our thoughts and actions. It is wrongly assumed that our feelings are like the laws of gravity—beyond our control, overwhelming, and unchangeable.
But God expects His Spirit to rule over all of our lives, including our emotions. Oswald Chambers rightly says, “God holds the saints responsible for emotions they have not got and ought to have as well as for the emotions they have allowed which they ought not to have allowed. If we indulge in inordinate affection, anger, anxiety, God holds us responsible; but He also insists that we have to be passionately filled with the right emotions.
The emotional life of a Christian is to be measured by the exalted energy exhibited in the life of our Lord. The language applied to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the saint is descriptive of the energy of emotion that keeps the inner and outer life like our Lord’s own life.”