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What Emotions Are Leading Us?

16 July 2021

Cartoon of six emotions

As I read through this week’s readings, I found myself trying to put myself into Paul’s shoes and see everything that happened through his eyes.


Here was someone who had a very clear calling on his life.  He had temporarily gone back to Jerusalem before no doubt wanting to go and visit either the churches he had started and encourage them or go to a yet unreached people group. I am sure that in his mind his work wasn’t finished and that he would be once again out on the road to tell people about Jesus – we see this time and again in the letters he wrote to the various churches.


But as we read this week, we see it doesn’t quite work out that way, and instead he ends up a prisoner and falsely accused of all sorts of things. How must he have felt then? And this didn’t just take place over a couple of weeks but several years, and ultimately defined the rest of his life.


So many times, as I read the story through, hope must have increased as it appeared he would get treated fairly and released, only for this to be dashed and the governor, ruler or leader would then want to please the Jews and leave him in prison. What must this have felt like to Paul? How frustrated must he have felt at times? How disappointed or angry could he have got?


Yet despite all of this, Paul always remains in control of his emotions and stays in a place of thanksgiving and rejoicing. He keeps his attitude in check and even apologises to the High Priest (Acts 23 v 5) for his wrong words even though the High Priest is completely wrong for accusing Paul in the first place.


It is during this time and subsequently that Paul was able to write the letters to the churches that make up most of the New Testament. In all of these Paul consistently writes about “rejoicing in the Lord always” (Philippians 4 v 4) and “giving thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5 v 18).  He really must have not only understood the importance of doing this but the benefit of putting it into practice when all the circumstances around are not what you want.


In fact, through all of this God hadn’t abandoned Paul and instead encouraged him that he would be going to Rome and testifying there (Acts 23 v 11). God walked and led Paul through these times so that he could fulfil all that God wanted him to.


How often do we find our circumstances haven’t worked out as we planned or hoped? How many times do we end up let down by other people or maybe worse still end up in a situation where we are falsely accused of something, discriminated against in some way or prevented from moving into what we feel our calling is?


Life will always throw up times when we can be led by our emotions into a negative place. This is overcome by two things: firstly, knowing that God is still in charge and working out His plan for our life, and secondly, making the decision to rejoice and be thankful no matter what we see in front of us.


This week I believe God wants us to look to him and see that he is working on our behalf in all things, trust in him to lead us to fulfil the calling he has for our lives, and most of all make that decision to be thankful in all circumstances. Let’s make a decision not to let our lives be led by negative emotions based on what we see in front of us but instead to rejoice all of the time.

Photo of Mark Walker

Mark Walker
Lead Pastor
GoChurch Manchester