While at a conference last November, I was inspired by a teaching from Michael Card, a respected Christian folk artist and author. He taught on the emotional life of Jesus as explored in the book of Mark. This led me to write a short meditation full of prayers based on the emotions and life of Jesus. Over the next month, I will reveal parts of this mini-book/meditation.
Here is the introduction…
Sacred Passion – Praying the emotions of Jesus
Whether people would admit it or not, many think that God, being perfect, does not have nor shows emotion. This view is commonly held by many Christians even though they may not have expressed it. You seldom hear anyone preach or teach on the emotional life of Christ. It seems like a taboo topic – even in the Church. But if we are to be truly free, the power of God must also redeem our emotions as well as our minds.
Why is it so disturbing to think that God can “Get emotional?” Are we scared about what would happen if were to make God angry? Or is it something else? Maybe we find the notion of an emotional God disturbing because we somehow equate emotion to weakness. And if God is God, He certainly doesn’t have a weakness. At the core of this mindset, is a series of lies And I believed these lies for many years.
Mastering my emotions has been such an inner struggle that I couldn’t believe someone like Jesus would wrestle with such conflict. I saw emotions as weakness because they frequently led me to sin and self loathing. Somehow, you start to look at all emotions as a sign of weakness and thereby part of man’s fallen condition. Then, emotions become sinful in and of themselves. The only way to stay strong is to cut off emotions at the root, put them in a box inside your heart, and deny that they exist. But this was futile. They would always break out at the worst time. Then, I would be more resolute to never let emotions control me again. This was the cycle of my life for many years.
I was saved intellectually and bound up emotionally. I was a fairly decent guy morally, but I was a complete wreck on the inside. I was a complete fraud. I displayed a form of godliness but denied Christ’s real power. Jesus came to set us free from the law of sin and death. Jesus came to redeem all of us, including our emotions. Jesus shows us what it means to be perfectly human and to express perfect emotions. As I started to look at this reality, I had to unlearn much of what I thought that I knew.
Embracing Jesus’ emotional life has been part of my road to inner health. Jesus, being both man and God, had emotions and expressed them openly. Emotions are not sin neither are they a sign of weakness. Emotions are part of what it means to be human. What if they really reflect what it means to be created in the image of God? What if God wouldn’t be God unless He had an emotional side to His character?
As a man, I have struggled with the social norm that says, “Men are tough. We aren’t supposed to be emotional.” This is yet another lie that keeps people bound up from experiencing true healing and restoration.
Why emotions? Because we have them, and God desires to redeem them. Because we don’t need to fear them, and God can use them to accomplish His greatest work in us. Because they are frequently the part of our lives that we hold back and don’t release to God.
The answer quite simply is that prayer changes things. We can strategize or talk about our struggles as much as we want, and things stay the same. We can make resolutions in our heart and even strive in the flesh to follow what we know God wants us to do, but that can fall short too. The reason is that we can’t change our own hearts. We can’t heal us. If we could do this one thing, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Prayer is the vehicle for change in our hearts and lives. In prayer we invite God to act, surrender closed up areas of our heart, confess sin, declare God’s ability to transform us, and we praise God in advance for what He alone can do.
This little book is a meditation of prayers focused on the emotional life of Jesus as depicted in the Gospels. These prayers have been helpful for me as I am working through surrendering my emotions to God. And I pray that they are useful to you as you allow the Holy Spirit to to a deep work inside your heart.