Henry unicorn and butterfly

Henry unicorn and butterfly (Photo credit: bochalla)

Many people live by the philosophy, “Love is a commitment [or action], not an emotion.” These no-nonsense types pride themselves on their ability to repress feelings. The Christian versions often say that God isn’t interested in a feel-good gospel; He’s interested in how He can use you. So your problems are trivial.

Then there are those who believe that love is a gushy, be-all-end-all emotion. These hippie types pride themselves on their ability to turn everything into unicorns and butterflies. Like the tough guys, the Christian versions tend to trivialize problems. “Just give it to God” when you’ve lost your job, house, health, or best friend.

I think both views turn an incomplete picture into the whole story. Biblically speaking, love is definitely an emotion, but not necessarily gushy affection. Love is the steady desire for the loved one’s good, whether or not you like the person. It relieves you of having to somehow drum up or fake affection. It is a commitment since commitment comes from passion. And it’s definitely an action, or God wouldn’t have commanded us to love one another.

Obviously, no one can summon or banish emotions, good or bad, on demand. But we can develop positive feelings and undermine negative ones by practicing in our thought-life. If we so readily understand and accept, “The more I think about it, the madder I get,” why would we assume it doesn’t work the other way around—“The more I think about it, the calmer I get”? Or happier, more patient, generous, and Christ-like?

The secret to better self-control is to better understand God’s design of human emotion. The more we prepare in advance, the more we fill with positive feelings that’ll be there when we need them for intelligent, loving behavior instead of bashing one another. (more…)

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The four forces on an aircraft: lift, weight, drag and thrust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aerodynamics 101 says that when thrust overcomes drag, and lift overcomes weight, even a brick will fly. So it is with spiritual dynamics, as measurable as any physical science.

“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isa. 40:31) New life is about joy in the midst of sadness, confidence in the midst of chaos, soaring in the midst of difficulty.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom. 12:2)

This is the beginning of repentance, the turning point where spiritual thrust and lift begin to overcome drag and weight to transform, or re-form, the entire person (soul). I wish I had known this decades ago! I’ll assume that others would like to know, too.

Re-Think

Let’s start with a good definition of faith/belief and see how that relates to body and behavior. Faith is more than acceptance or awareness; it’s confidence, certainty, even of things we don’t see with physical eyes. That’s because vision is rooted in ideas and images. This becomes action because faith always acts—good or bad—as if something were true. To put faith in Jesus means to put confidence in his ability, availability, and willingness to show us the Way to life.

Faith and belief are thus born in the mind/thought/emotion soul-ring of personhood. “Faith comes by hearing,” and, in modern times, by reading as well. The door that Christ knocks upon is the door of the mind, which we open to him. The mind’s eye catches his vision of life in the kingdom of heaven among us, for without that vision, no one can repent. (more…)