Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 10/28/07
The Doctrine of Emotions.
The Emotions of the Soul.
Point 1. Definition and Description. Emotion, or feelings, is a part of the essence of the soul. The soul resides in a non-thinking part of the brain called the thalamus. The emotion is found in passages such as LUK 12:19 “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years {to come;} take your ease, eat, drink {and} be merry [note, be merry in the soul].’” In MAT 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,”
            The emotions are the appreciator of the soul, and they respond or react to whatever thoughts are in the soul. Normally the emotion is to be dominated by the right lobe of the soul, by the mentality. Abnormally, the emotion rules the mentality, this is when neurosis and psychosis sets in. The emotions of the soul are designed to respond to what is in the mentality of the soul. Emotion is the female part of the soul, and is to respond to the right lobe or the heart, which is the male part. In fact, category two love, which is right man-right woman, is taught in the Bible illustrating the relationship between the emotion and the right lobe.1CO 11:3-12, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.”
            The right lobe possesses a frame of reference which is designed for thought, the memory center, vocabulary and categorical storage, as well as the conscience, the momentum department, the wisdom department, and the subconscious. The right lobe, or the heart, reveals what you really are, because you are what you think. The right lobe also contains the norms and standards. Inside the right lobe of the soul is everything that should dominate emotion so that emotion can become what it was designed to be by God, an appreciator of things. The heart contains all thought and standards; the emotion contains nothing. The Greek word for emotion is koilia, meaning something that is empty, or hollow. We have seen passages where koilia is used.LUK 1:39-42, Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb [her koilia translated womb refers to her emotional response]; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed among women {are} you, and blessed {is} the fruit of your womb! Or JOH 7:37-39, Now on the last day, the great {day} of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being [koilia]shall flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet {given,} because Jesus was not yet glorified. (See also ROM 16:17-18; REV 10:9).
            The point is that emotion is something empty and a part of you waiting to respond, not react. Emotions contain no doctrine, thought, common sense, or ability to reason. If emotion controls the soul you can’t think or apply doctrine to life. By definition, the emotions are the appreciator of the soul. By function, the emotions were designed to respond to the right lobe. The emotion is strictly a responder, it is not designed to assume authority over the soul, rather it is designed to be dominated by the right lobe. In fact, emotion has no true ability to love. Thus, emotional revolt produces love in areas that are against the Word of God. Capacity for life is related to the right lobe, to thought, not the emotions. You can really only enjoy life by operating in your emotions under the control of proper thought. Only in the right lobe, the kardia, does there exist the frame of reference, memory center, viewpoint, norms and standards, and doctrine. None of these exist in the emotion, which is designed only to respond to these things. However, emotions are stimuli for action, and therefore must be regarded as a form of human energy. This is why Paul said in ROM 8:5-8, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Remember that Divine power and human power are mutually exclusive. The omnipotence of God is the spiritual energy for the spiritual life that God has provided for you to live in. If you get weary and faint it’s because you are usually relying on human power and not Divine power. HEB 12:3tells us, Be concentrating on Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. Most systems in Christianity today are related to some system of human improvement and emotional stimulation rather than the omnipotence of God. There is great human power in personality, emotional appeals, certain categories of human leadership, and in certain physical appearances, but that is not the power of God. So human emotion does exist, and can intrude into the spiritual life that God has provided for you. God the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine is the only energy with which we are able to live a life glorifying the Lord. ROM 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. GAL 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
            If we are not led by the Spirit, or filled with the Spirit, we are functioning under a form of human power and energy, either emotion or arrogance. The Holy Spirit is quenched and grieved because we are not using His Divine energy or His omnipotence. Human power and emotion is simply a cheap substitute for the power to live the spiritual life. People get bored, tired, weary, and frustrated when they try to live the spiritual life with human energy. Many Christians live the Christian life under the human energy of emotionalism which is pseudo-spirituality, whereas Bible doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit is the only means whereby we as Church-age believers can glorify the Lord. God uses prepared men and women for the ministry who are not governed by their emotions. If a man is not prepared he will appeal to the emotions of people. He will try to make them feel good, spiritual, or guilty. This is why a pastor must study and teach, study and teach, study and teach. If not, he will teach his congregation that which is false, and lead them to program Christianity. As our Lord said in LUK 6:39-40, “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” We live in a time where there are many sincere Christians who are involved with emotional movements, and this is dangerous because emotions serve as human energy. People do things because of emotionalism; they give and serve under emotionalism and all it is human energy. As a result, believers do not function under Divine power, but rather human power. So, if we fail to utilize Divine power we will either quit or accept a cheap substitute like human power. Emotionalism is one of the great areas of cheap substitutes for Divine power and the spiritual life that God has provided for us to live in. Emotional stress, for example, causes people to act on impulse; the emotion of fear, also a sin, causes flight. The emotion of disgust causes repulsion, anger causes violence, and instincts are reflex behavior based on emotion rather than on thought. If how you feel becomes the criteria for your life, you will never be able to execute God’s plan as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that when our Lord and Savior was fulfilling God’s plan for His life He cried out in MAT 27:46 “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” That was not a positive emotional experience.
            The point is that many believers today have become neurotic and psychotic simply because they have intruded into God’s plan with a human form of energy called emotion. The purpose of normal emotion is to respond to various things in our soul by way of norms and standards. In other words, emotion can respond to thought, but emotion can also function without thought. When emotion functions without thought, it is abnormal emotional activity. Normal functions of the emotion include pleasure or entertainment, excitement, and appreciation. But these normal emotion functions must not be associated with the enabling ministry of God the Holy Spirit inside the PPOG when it comes to the spiritual life. Emotion is related to human power and influence, but never to Divine power and the mystery doctrine of the Church-age, which is the basis for fulfilling God’s will, plan, and purpose. Believers who make emotion the criterion for their spiritual life generally have the following problems: 1) Such a believer makes a god out of emotions, and then the believer becomes a sucker for the tongues movement, the miracles, signs and wonders movement. In MAT 24:24, this is one of the signs of the last days; “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” 2TH 2:9 {that is,} the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders. 2) Such a believer’s emotional pattern distracts him from the execution of the PPOG (ROM 16:17-18). 3) Therefore, emotion hinders the perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine (2CO 6:11-12). 4) Such a believer’s unrestrained emotional pattern is the basis for criminality, violence, hatred, anger, and total involvement in the arrogance complex, which means bitterness, vindictiveness, jealousy, implacability, self-pity, guilt reaction. 5) Such a believer’s unrestrained or uncontrolled emotional pattern is related to the great categorical problems of life, especially fear. Under the PPOG for the Church-age, emotions are not adequate guides for motives, thoughts, decisions, and actions of the believer. Emotions are not tools of cognition nor criteria for life. Therefore, emotions are not designed as problem solving devices. Therefore, the Church-age believer must learn to distinguish between post-salvation perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine as the means of executing God’s plan, will, and purpose, and emotional experience, which can be normal in appreciation response in response, or it can be abnormal and not related at all to the Christian way of life. Normal emotional experience results in subordinating the emotion to the intellect. Abnormal emotional experience results in either subordinating the intellect to the emotion, or the emotion bypassing the norms and standards of God’s plan for your life. Abnormal emotional experience may express itself in the many areas of pseudo-spirituality, or in ecstatic experience which has absolutely nothing to do with the filling of the Spirit or the now defunct gift of tongues. Abnormal emotional experience may also express itself in emotional sins, like hatred, fear, worry, anxiety, and may become the motivation for violence, murder, gossiping, maligning, inordinate ambition, and the inordinate competition of running down other people in order to promote yourself.
The sinful activity of anger, hatred, fear, worry, anxiety promotes arrogance and undermines the momentum of God’s plan, purpose, and will for your life. Momentum is related to the function of problem-solving devices, such as rebound, the filling of the Spirit, the faith-rest drill, grace orientation, doctrinal orientation, personal love for God, impersonal love for all mankind, sharing the happiness of God (+H), a personal sense of destiny, and occupation with the person of Christ.
Here is the application: There is no spiritual activity in emotion. It is either a normal or abnormal physiological or psychological activity, but how you feel has nothing to do with your spiritual status. If you take your emotions and try to intrude them into God’s plan, you have entered into a form of blasphemy. Now, under some conditions, the use of doctrine in recall often causes an emotional response. You are using your thinking to recall, apply, and metabolize a doctrine, and your emotion then responds; that is normal. But when you become involved in that evil which makes emotion the criterion for the spiritual life you are grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit. There is no Divine power in emotion. The power is in thought, and that thought must be Bible doctrine. Our Lord said in MAT 12:39 “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign;” Remember that it is the same God who brings both feast and famine, fair weather and rainy (MAT 5:45). These seasons form and mature you, and each is needed just as a year must have different seasons. If we study the lives of great men and women carefully we find that, invariably, greatness was developed, tested and revealed through the darker periods of their lives. One of the greatest contributors of the winner believer is the adversity. Painful as it may seem, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that is best for us, and those around us. Each change in your condition (whether it be an internal or an external change) is a new test to try your faith and love. It will help perfect you if you receive it with love and submission.
However, make sure you understand, emotions are a hindrance to the perception of doctrine. Especially if you don’t feel like being around someone in the local assembly or if you don’t feel like listening to the pastor’s voice. However, here is where emotions become a part of distracting you from living the spiritual life and fulfilling the only thing that really matters in life, living in the PPOG (2CO 6:11-12).
Point 2. The New Testament Greek words for emotion.
Koilia is identified with the solar plexus, a part of the central nervous system; therefore, it is often translated stomach. It originally meant some kind of hollow. For example, JOH 7:37-38, Now on the last day, the great {day} of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being [Koilia] shall flow rivers of living water.’” This has to do with the emotional response that would take place when the Church-age began. In the book of Acts when the Church-age began some thought the early Church were “full of sweet wine,” because it was an emotional experience. So, the word koilia refers to the emotion. Notice, there may be an emotional response to the Word of God and the plan of God, but there doesn’t have to be, as we noted with the Lord Jesus Christ dying for the sins of the entire world. For example, in HEB 12:2 “Be concentrating on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the happiness set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,” That was not a positive emotional experience. In ISA 52:14 “His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men.”Even those who were antagonistic were shocked by the unique sufferings of Christ, and that was not a positive emotional experience. He was completely disfigured. ISA 53:3 “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;” That was not a positive emotional experience. ISA 53:4 “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.” That was not a positive emotional experience. ISA 53:5 “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being {fell} upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” That was not a positive emotional experience. ISA 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” That was not a positive emotional experience. ISA 53:10 “But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief;” That was not a positive emotional experience.
            A second word found in the Bible to describe the emotions is the word Greek word splagnon which represents the parasympathetic and sympathetic effects of emotion. It is the word for intestines, often translated guts, entrails or tender mercies, but it means feelings and affections. 2Co 6 is where emotions become a part of distracting you from living the spiritual life and fulfilling the only thing that really matters in life, living in the PPOG. 2CO 6:11-12 “Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, because our right lobes have been enlarged [the right lobe being enlarged refers to studying before teaching Bible doctrine]; You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained by your own affections [splanchnon or emotions.]The Corinthians had received teaching from Paul, Apollos, Timothy, and Titus. They had been hindered in their spiritual growth, not by the content of the messages but because they had switched from divine power to human power: their emotions. Therefore, they blamed their communicators because they, the Corinthians, were not feeling good or “feeling the Spirit.” In PHI 1:8 “For God is my witness, how I deeply desire all of you with the affections [splagnon] of Christ Jesus.”(see also PHI 2:1; COL 3:12). In PHM 1:7 “For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts [splagnon not kardia] of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.” Here the word means tender and deep affections. Metaphorically this word pointed to the inward parts of man and referred to the emotions or the heart. Paul was complementing Philemon because he was a very caring and emotional individual, and Paul was sending his runaway slave back to Philemon; Paul was hoping that Philemon would forgive him. So Paul writes in PHM 1:12 “And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart [splagchnon, emotion]. Paul is saying in effect that although he may not have been a blessing to you before, he will be a tremendous blessing to you now. Paul is requesting that Philemon consider this when he makes his decision. Therefore in PHM 1:20 “Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart[splagchnon] in Christ.” Paul is saying that if he frees this runaway slave, it will refresh his emotions. The noun nephros is translated reins in the King James version and heart in the NA. However, it is also used to designate emotions. In REV 2:23“And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts [nephros]; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” Here it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ searching and testing the emotions. The point again is that emotion never represents either spirituality or any function related to divine omnipotence, but it is still a part of your soul. But emotion has no spiritual connotation. Emotion is not a criterion for Christian experience. Emotion was never designed by God to replace the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit as our teacher. Emotion is neither the criterion for the spiritual life or the reality of the spiritual life. You are never spiritual because you are emotional. As a system of response and feeling, emotion does not contain the following. Emotion does not contain thought, the ability to reason, it does not contain common sense or vocabulary as a tool for mental function, and it has no doctrinal content.
Point 3. Emotions are tested by God.
REV 2:23 “Furthermore, I will execute her followers by means of death, and so all the churches will know that I am He who investigates the emotions and the right lobe, and I will administer punishment to each one according to your activities.” If emotion responds to the right lobe you have a normal soul. If emotion controls the soul you have an abnormal situation. God tests to see if the soul is normal or not. PSA 26:2 “Test my emotions and my right lobe.” JER 11:20 “But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, Who tries the feelings and the heart,” God does test your soul and its emotions at some specific time. However, His omniscience knew billions of years ago the status of your soul at any point in your life. But it’s communicated to us through an anthropomorphism such as test. He read your tape billions of years ago; you can never hide anything from Him, and that should relax you. The condition of your soul was known to God at all times, in time, and in eternity past where there was no time.
            Testing is used as an anthropomorphism to determine your capacity for life. God wants you to have maximum capacity for life. Therefore, to challenge you to capacity for life God says He tests your emotions and your heart. Since capacity for life is based on the amount of doctrine in your right lobe, testing your emotions refers to testing the response of your emotions to this information. With doctrine, your norms and standards become compatible with God’s norms and standards. When situations occur that cause this realization, you have an emotional response, in both spiritual and temporal areas.
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