Sweeeeeeet Emooooootion

Well, the geniuses at Disney-Pixar have done it again. Unsurprisingly, the trailer for their upcoming movie “Inside-Out” hits close to home on a lot of levels.

Emotions are powerful, useful and beautiful. They enable us to truly experience life in amazing ways. They can hijack us and take us all kinds of places if we allow them to be our compass for decision making. For Christians, we often want our emotions to be our will-of-God compass. We say things like, “ya. I have a real peace on it.”

Now, practically speaking, when we say this, we are saying that thinking about that “thing” produces a feeling of emotional tranquility. Equating feelings of inner peace with God’s direction is problematic. There’s something much more assuring about knowing God’s will which we will come to in a minute.

Historically, God’s will has given rise to lots of emotions in those he called. Abraham was asked to offer Isaac, Moses was asked to be a public speaker, Jeremiah was given an unpopular message to preach, Hosea was instructed to marry a prostitute, Christ wrestles with the realities of the cross in Gethsemane and the guy who denied Jesus 3 times was asked to lead the church. Lot’s of emotions were well documented in all those instances. Emotions that would make the emotion-driven-Christian say, “this can’t be God. I don’t have peace on it.”

In Colossians 3:15 Paul says that “we are to have peace rule and reign in our hearts.” For a long time, I read that as a confirmation that my emotional compass was dialed into God’s will. If I felt peace about it, God was in it – plain and simple. Or not. Then when you have trouble in paradise, you spiral downward in doubt: “Did God say… did he change His mind … did I miss it … why is this happening – I had peace on it, damn it!”

The context for that verse is Paul calling the church to use peace as an umpire in their dealings with one another. This isn’t an invitation for individuals to use inner peace as an indicator that they are in the will of God. This verse is a corporate encouragement.

Let’s face it – our hearts deceive us.  Sure it can be argued that I could have peace about what God wants – but you can take it to the bank that I’ll have peace on what I want.

Theologian Thomas Cramner famously said “What the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies” and pop artist Selena Gomez concurs. She said, ‘The heart wants what it wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ants.” [1]

Here’s the Good news: if you’re in God’s hands – you’re in His will.

We don’t need inner peace to know that we are in God’s will. Being out of God’s will would mean being  out of His hands.  Knowing we are firmly in His grasp produces deep joy and yes, peace.

Can we know peace? Yes.

The peace that Christ brings He described as “not as the world gives”. This is a peace that is entirely separate and far above the decision in front of you today. Christ’s peace comes by thinking on what He accomplished for you, which is this:

Christ has ensured that God is on the other side of every decision we make, working it out for our good and His glory. [2] Yes. He’s that good.

Press on,

Paul [1] Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-12, Romans 7 [2] John 10:28-29, Romans 8:31-39, I Peter 1:1-9, Philippians 4:12, Hebrews 12:2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MC3XuMvsDI

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