Most of us have experienced a time when a circumstance or event in our lives has been different from what we wanted—a distressing phone call in the middle of the night, unfavorable medical test results, or pain resulting from the actions of a friend or family member. These are times that are filled with heartache, grief, disappointment, and anxiety.
The experience of such emotions is natural and acceptable, but when we focus our hearts on our feelings and not on truths from God, we are allowing our hearts to deceive us.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
• Jeremiah 17:9 •
When our hearts continually deceive us by dwelling upon our negative emotions instead of learning from them how to draw closer to God and His truths, we are allowing our feelings to steal our minds away from God.
It is at this point that our emotions become an idol in our lives. While we may think of idols as statues of false gods, an idol is anything that fills our minds more than God does and takes our focus away from Him and our relationship with Him.
God wants us to put nothing before Him, so when we allow our own emotions to reign supreme in our minds, we are breaking the first of the Ten Commandments—the one that in Matthew 22 Jesus labels as the greatest commandment: We are not loving God with all of my heart, soul, and mind.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
This is the great and foremost commandment…”
• Matthew 22:36-38 •
God wants our minds on Him and for everything else—including our emotions—to be secondary. We can learn to be more obedient to Him by countering our deceitful hearts with truths from God’s word when we go through circumstances that cause our emotions to overwhelm us.
Through His word, God will give us the strength to tear down emotional idols we have erected in our minds and to love and follow Him with our whole heart, soul, and mind.