Activate: A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28
Elevate: Hey guys! I’m excited to be back with the #BeTheMan blog! We took a little break for the holidays and New Year, but we are back and ready to get started. We are also bringing back the Be That Girl blog, as we look to empower young people with what it means to be a biblical man and biblical woman.
This month, I would like to talk about emotions! Now, I know that for a lot of men (teenage boys especially) these are tricky waters that we are about to navigate. In my experience there are 2 types of guys when it comes to emotions. On the first end, you have the guy who pretends they don’t exist. Everything he goes through, he acts like it doesn’t fade him. His usual response is “I don’t care.” Then on the other end, you have the super sensitive guy who is completely taken away by any emotional experience. He’s either ecstatic and laughing or down and moping but there is no inbetween for him.
I would like to discuss what God has to say about our emotions, and the role they are to play in our lives. Here are 3 keys to mastering your emotions as a man:
Accept them. Imagine there was a man at your school with a gun. Alarms go off, doors get locked, and students hide! Except for you. You decide that the gunman has left, “and even if there were,” you say to yourself, “I’m invincible.” You walk the halls, and you go about your day as if it were normal. Now many of you realize that this is crazy and that you would never do that. If you did, you would be dead by 2nd period, I’m pretty sure. This is an extreme example, but many men act like this when we talk about emotions. To say that you don’t have any fear or you’re never scared is like saying that you don’t need oxygen to breathe. Every man, no matter how macho he is, experiences emotions like fear, joy, sadness, anger, etc. It doesn’t do any good to deny them. You have emotions; that statement is true. The crazy thing about true statements is that they are true whether your opinion lines up with them or not. Even Jesus got angry and stormed the temple where he found religious people using God’s house as a marketplace. The Bible says that he braided a whip and stormed in there and started to push out the merchants!
Let them enhance your life, not control it. Once you’ve accepted them, it’s important that you know their roles. All emotions are good in context. Last year, we did an Inside Out Series in our Kids Church. It was amazing as we saw kids realize what they had learned was “bad,” wasn’t actually bad; they had just been misusing it. Let’s take the largest 3 emotions for example: fear, joy, and anger. I feel like these are the emotions we experience everyday. Fear is good when it keeps you and your loved ones safe (i.e. fear of jumping off a building, fear of driving 110 mph, fear of letting your younger sibling go out of your sight), it is bad once it becomes a cripple. If you never do anything for fear of failing, then you’re letting fear control your life. Joy is good when it allows you to celebrate good moments. If it becomes something that you constantly look for in order to decide whether you’re going to follow a commitment or not, then it is ruling your life. Anger is good when it pushes you to pursue righteousness, but it is bad when it causes you to rage out against people.
Walk by the Spirit. “Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16). The ultimate step in controlling your emotions, and ultimately controlling yourself, is to give up control! We have to let the Holy Spirit take control, so that our flesh doesn’t. If we’re being honest, we all want to act tough, be happy all the time, or even rage out and punch that one annoying guy at school or work in the face sometimes. It’s in these moments that we are reminded that we need God. Much like the disciples needed Jesus to put them back in line whenever they got emotional, we need the Holy Spirit to do the same for us!
Cultivate: What’s the biggest emotion for you? Which one do you struggle to control? This month, let’s be intentional about giving that up to God in prayer, and also by giving full control to the Holy Spirit! Let’s not be men who pretend like emotions don’t exist, but let’s also not be men who are controlled by every little thing that does or does not go our way.