How you’re feeling and handling life emotionally is one of the most important aspects of your Spiritual growth in Christ. Jesus was moved emotionally to help others through His empathy and compassion. He trained and prepared His disciples by focusing on improving their emotional strength through isolating tumultuous and extraordinary pressures. Even in Jesus’ own life application - He learned obedience through what He suffered not what went well. (Hebrews 5:8) Love sits at the center of Jesus’ motivation for His children. No matter what circumstances that takes place in our lives (good and bad) His motivation never changes.
Here are six things to help expand your thinking about the power of your emotional life to your Spiritual growth.
When in Christ:
"The part of us that drives and organizes our life is not physical. This remains true even if we deny it. You have a spirit within you, and it has been formed. It has taken on a specific character.” Reflect on the character of your inner-self? How would you describe who you are? (i.e. character-wise)
Love is God’s primary motivation in our lives and that truth never changes
How we experience love impacts every facet of our lives.
Each variation of our love experience produces a tangible response. This means each experience we had of being loved (i.e. abuse, rejection, betrayal, acceptance, etc.) gets projected in how we respond to others and God.
Jesus’ love language includes: compassion, sacrificial love, and empathy)
Jesus’ sacrificial love, compassion and empathy to help others came out of his obedience and desire to do the will of his Father – likewise, so must ours.
If we look at the emotional life of Jesus as an anchor, we can begin to unpack how much love rests at the center of our emotional wellbeing in Christ.
References: Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart Diane Chandler, Christian Spiritual Formation