October 29, 2012
Here’s a quick quiz for you. In a battle between a tiger and a man, who is stronger? You know, actually physically stronger? Correct, a tiger. Now, who is locked up in a cage, a tiger or a man? Tiger, correct again. Well, if a tiger is physically stronger than a man, how is the man able to lock the tiger up in the cage? Here is a hint … what does the man have that the tiger doesn’t? Gun, trap, tranquilizers, and basically, some kind of strategy. You see, all the things the man brings to the fight come from his brain, his intelligence. If the man uses his intelligence, he can control the tiger. If he doesn’t use his intelligence, the tiger will devour him. The same is true for any sport or for actual war.
OK, here is where today’s lesson comes in. The tiger symbolizes our emotions and the man represents our intelligence. If we utilize our intelligence, thinking and strategizing our way through potentially harmful situations, we will control our emotions and cage the tiger. But if we don’t use our intelligence, our emotions, the tiger, will devour us.
Emotions can get you in trouble in a number of ways, including distorting your view of a situation, leading to knee-jerk reactions, impairing your judgment, raising your blood pressure, giving you heartburn, or interfering with your awareness of God and the ability to apply His instruction in a troubling situation. Left unchecked or unsupervised, your emotions will ultimately destroy you. That’s why this pearl of wisdom has been passed on through the ages, “Think before you act.”
On the flip side, we don’t want to annihilate or ignore our emotions. Just as we lock up the tiger for entertainment, education, edification, or admiration, we want to keep our emotions around because they do have a significant purpose. Emotions, even the negative ones, are a tremendous gift from God … but that’s a devotional for another day. Satan wants to push our emotional buttons so it is easier for him to hunt and devour us. Alcohol and drugs, even caffeine, bring emotions to the surface making them harder to control. This is one psychological reason that they are so dangerous and lead to many disastrous decisions.
Today, when you are experiencing a negative feeling, stop and think. Thinking before reacting is always helpful. Ask yourself, “Are my feelings controlling my thinking, or is my thinking helping me control my feelings?” Take a deep breath and consider the real problem and an actual solution, not just a knee-jerk fix. When you are able to think through your emotional state, your level of success during adversity will improve dramatically. Our Resources will help you understand and manage your feelings better. Thinking first or reacting first is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, thanks so much for giving me my intelligence and my emotions. I confess that I don’t think sometimes and I let my feelings devour my brains. Wow, the damage to You, to others and myself is so embarrassing to face sometimes. Thank You for the forgiveness You extend as I learn to apply Your instruction to my everyday living and trials. Help me control my feelings better, and improve my ability to take “every thought captive.” I pray in the name of the perfect role model, Christ Jesus; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:29,30