Discipline your emotions 3

'...he had compassion on them and healed their sick.' Matthew 14:14 NIV

Before you congratulate yourself on having your emotions in check, understand there's another side to the coin: you can have control but no compassion; you can get worked up about human suffering but not do anything.

James talks about the people who are churchgoers, who feel sorry for others but don't act. They see the pain and unmet needs of people. They have the ability to do something about it. They feel sorry but they walk away muttering about being too busy. Or they try to relieve their conscience with a token gift. James says, '...faith without works is dead' (James 2:20 NKJV) If we are not responsible, who is? If we don't do something, who will? You're only disciplining your emotions if you translate them into responsible action.

William Barclay wrote: 'There is nothing more dangerous than the repeated experience of a fine emotion with no attempt to put it into action. It is a fact that every time a man feels a noble impulse without taking action, he becomes less likely ever to take action. In a sense it is true to say that a man has no right to feel sympathy, unless he at least tries to put that sympathy into action. An emotion is not something in which to luxuriate (enjoy as a luxury); it is something which at the cost of effort and of toil, of discipline and of sacrifice, must be turned into the stuff of life.'

So what now? Now that you've learnt to discipline your emotions, take responsible action!

Soulfood: 1 Cor 4-6, Mark 14:66-72, Ps 91, Prov 25:9-12

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