Jonathan Edwards and Resolutions (60): Take Your Emotions Captive
60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4 and 13, 1723.
We are an emotional people and God gave us emotions therefore emotions are good. However, since the fall our emotions have been mingled and manipulated by our sin and as we know from Scripture (Jeremiah 17:9) and experience, emotions make for terrible masters.
The problem is that many Christians today seem to be held captive by their emotions because what they think is not captured and brought in subjection to the Word (2 Cor. 10:5). We act, or emote based on what we believe or cherish inwardly and many of our interactions with others demonstrate that we fail time and time again at bringing the precise and searching nature of God's Word to bear on the meditations of our heart (Heb. 4:12). Like Edwards, we need a 'strict' examination. And this isn't a legalistic exercise in piety. If we are committed to evaluating ourselves in light of God's Word alone, we won't be legalistic. Legalists have a habit of despising God's Word by either going beyond what it says or ignoring its doctrines because they don't 'feel' right to us (this is antinomianism which is legalism's ugly cousin). We must repent of falling into either ditch and run to Christ by running to His Word.
So, when emotions are all over the place, and your are filled with dread, worry, anger, or the like remember two things:
Remember to engage in the public worship of God. In other words, go to the meeting place of your church every Lord's Day. This is a primary means by which the Lord can help to order your interior life.
Remember to attend to your soul privately through Bible reading, biblical confession and repentance (in prayer), and biblical meditation.
These two things can help you to take every emotion captive. These things can help you life a 'happy' life anchored in Christ and the remembrance that your sins are forgiven.