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How To Manage And Fight Negative Emotions

Did you know nearly one billion people worldwide (13%) have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder? In one this number doubled to 26% for adults aged 18-25. The most common issues were anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug use, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. Now add terrorism, persecution, pestilence, famine, natural disaster, extreme poverty, forced relocation, unemployment, or homelessness this increases even higher. And even without persistent problems like these, all of us struggle with negative emotions to some degree. Why is this? It’s simply because we live in a sinful, fallen world. It may not be your fault; the world is cursed and everything in it is dying. There’s spiritual, physical, relational, mental, and emotional decay. Things break down, including minds and hearts. However, Jesus is the Great Physician. He: “took our illnesses and bore our diseases” (Matthew 8:17). He was sent to: “bind up the brokenhearted… [to] open the prison to those who are bound… comfort all who mourn… give the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.” (Isaiah 61). The lies and sinful temptations of demons bring death but Jesus is the way, truth and life (John 14:6). John 8:31-32 Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” God’s WORD cleanses the Church (Ephesians 5:26), restores the soul (Psalm 19:7), comforts the afflicted and revives them (Psalm 119:50), and gives encouragement and hope (Romans 15:4). Freedom and healing from negative emotions comes by noticing and managing them and trusting God’s Word and living in relationship with Him.


This lesson is a list of negative emotions and a biblical response to fight them by trusting in God’s promises.

Anger (Unrighteous). James 1:19-20 “Be… slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Proverbs 19:11 “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 16:32 “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty.”


Anxiety. Matthew 6:34 “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” Philippians 4:6-9 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus… whatever is true… honorable… just… pure… lovely… think about these things… practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”


Bitterness. Isaiah 38 “It was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you [God] have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.” Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” James 3:18 “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”


Defeat. Romans 8:31-35,37 “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”


Depression. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 2 Corinthians 7:6 “God, who comforts the depressed.” Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”


Discouragement. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” 2 Corinthians 4:8,16-18 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair… So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look… to the things that are unseen… the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Romans 8:28 “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)


Fear. Fear only God. (Matthew 10:26-33). Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”


Guilt. Ephesians 1:7 “In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” (NIV) Hebrews 10:17 “I will remember their sins… no more.” 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


Hopelessness. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 “We do not want you to be uninformed… so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” Romans 8:24 “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”


Inferiority. Genesis 1:27 “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Matthew 10:31 “You are of more value than many sparrows.”


Unloved / Unlovable / Rejection / Acceptance. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world… he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Let’s pray. LORD God, fill me abundantly with Your Word, which is Spirit and life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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