How can we understand emotion in the Christian Life? I don’t believe Jesus was an emotionless man. When Jesus left His disciples, He told them, “My joy I leave with you” (John 15:11). If Jesus was not a happy man, then the Disciples would have likely rejected Jesus’ offer of joy. We also should be joyful. We should worship God will all of our life. This includes our time, money, heart, and even emotions. We are to have times of tears with God and times of laughter. When we go through sadness, God is with us. When we worship, we should be worship God with everything that we have, including emotion.
There are times we might just go through the motions. We have to remember that we should worship God all the time and not just when we feel like worshiping. We worship God because he deserves it. The Disciples fell asleep when Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. I’m sure their bodies were tired, but Jesus wanted them to pushed their feelings aside for the bigger purpose. Emotion can only take us so far; it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that can take us to the next level.
The Bible never ignores our emotions. The Psalms are filled with great emotion. We read “You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have untied my sackcloth and encircled me with joy” (Psalm 30:11).
We all have a different level of emotion, so there is a balance. There’s not a hard and fast rule like, “You need to cry this many times,” or, “You should lift your hands for this long”. Ultimately there should be some emotion involved in our worship. We should be excited to be with the Lord. It’s time to get back to our first love. In the book of Revelation we see Jesus writing to the church in Ephesus saying, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4)
We can swing the pendulum too far to the left and the right. I don’t think we should be just faking worship, that’s one extreme. On the other hand, I also don’t think we should just avoid emotion during worship just because we don’t feel like it. Some Sunday mornings I’m tired and I honestly physically don’t feel like worshiping. Yet I recognize that God is still worthy of my worship.
This Sunday, don’t be afraid to cry, sing loudly, raise your hands, dance, or kneel. As I was writing this, the verse of the day is Psalm 95:1-2 which says, “Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord, Let’s shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let’s come before His presence with a song of thanksgiving, Let’s shout joyfully to Him in songs with instruments.” When we truly understand the goodness of God, we will be filled with joy. Jesus has turned our mourning into dancing!