Proper intel is critical to mission success.
All threats are assessed for lethality. Sources like humans, imagery, and signals are analyzed for critical information necessary to make sound decisions. We learn everything we can before the battle to ensure we have what it takes to win the battle. And when the enemy is defeated, we have the freedom to move and operate at will.
At the spiritual level, we have intelligence sources as well, like God’s Word, fellowship with other believers, worship, and our emotions. We know the importance of the spiritual elements but we also need to spend time understanding our emotions so we can use them in our battle against sin and a world hostile to God. They can provide us with critical information necessary to make wise decisions. They can be powerful weapons helping us achieve true freedom. But they can also lead us away from God because, like all intel, they can be misunderstood.
We misunderstand the purpose of emotions by placing them as the highest authority for our lives. Music, movies, and social media encourage this misappropriation as they command us to listen to and obey our feelings. “Follow your heart” becomes our mantra as we march toward supposed freedom. We begin to believe if we do what we want, we will be happy and content.
Emotions are not wrong and in fact, they do a wonderful job of collecting data and assessing what’s going on inside us. They fail us when we use that data to make poor decisions.
Here are a few examples of how emotional intel goes wrong. When we are angry and act out in our anger, we may damage property by punching a wall or injure relationships by using harsh and sarcastic comments. When we have cravings that we can’t seem to ignore, we spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need until our garages, closets, and bellies can’t hold anymore.
The Right Intel
Feelings and emotions were never designed to be our primary source of intel. Jesus reminds us of the intel that will never fail us. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b–32)
God, through His Word, gives us what we need to make good decisions. Since He never changes, never goes back on His Word, we can count on that information to be reliable and trustworthy. When we obey His Word, it brings great freedom. So, instead of anger, we can have peace that leads to building relationships and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Instead of out of control cravings, we can have contentment with what we own, and financial freedom to use our money wisely.
Lord, help me to understand my emotions. I know they come from You, but I also know I cannot always trust them. I can trust You and Your Word. Help me to make decisions based on what You say and bless me for my obedience with true freedom.
In article photos in order of appearance: Division 1, Color, People category by the U.S. Army licensed under CC BY 2.0
Recon Marine surveys assault area by the U.S. Marines licensed under U.S. Govt. Work