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The Holy Spirit, the Emotional Life of Jesus and the Emotional Life of the Spirit-filled Believer

(Isaiah 11:1-2 NKJV) There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. {2} The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

The central teaching of this book is that as part of their redemption Christians are to take on the emotional life of their Saviour and that this occurs as a result of the power of the Holy Spirit who transforms us into the image of the Son of God. If the Holy Spirit is indeed the divine dynamic and the agent of deep emotional transformation then we should see some evidence of that in His work in the life of Jesus. Obvious questions arise that we will investigate such as: Did His baptism and empowerment with the Holy Spirit change Him or did He remain just the same? Are there any hints that the Holy Ghost lay behind the impressiveness of His personality? Can we appropriate some of the same power that moved Jesus ?

The Baptism of Jesus and His EQ

While Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man there was also a sudden break in His life, a radical change in His emotions and personal authority so that those who knew Him said "where did He get this wisdom from…."

(Matthew 13:54-58 NKJV) And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? {55} "Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? {56} "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?" {57} So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." {58} Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

He had changed! While Luke shows us that Jesus was a child prodigy (Luke 2:42-50) no-one expected Him to turn into a miracle working prophet. The transition from promising youth to powerful prophet seems to have come at His baptism. There was a massive empowering work of the Holy Spirit that changed Jesus just as Pentecost changed the disciples.

The highest level EQ skills such as boldness and courage and skill in healing and proclamation are Holy Spirit endowed. The early church realized this when they prayed for boldness and the room shook! (Acts 4:29-31). EQ change empowered by the Holy Spirit can be remarkable and sudden and leave others astonished. I can testify personally to a remarkable change in one meeting in September 1978 when I went from being a timid and secretive Christian to being as bold as a lion and an ardent evangelist!

The Body of Jesus and The Holy Spirit

As we all know our physical state and our emotional state are closely connected. We are more disposed to get angry when we are tired or hungry. We also seem to inherit certain emotional dispositions from our parents. We are "hard-wired" from birth into a certain emotional disposition (however this can later be altered as we shall see). This can be as toxic as a problem with rage or as beneficial as the ability to be enraptured by music. The Holy Spirit set Jesus' genetic structure at conception so that He was unusually inclined to love righteousness and hate wickedness (Hebrews 1:9). A passage from Hebrews indicates that His body was prepared for him by God, so that Jesus would love to do the will of God. (emphasis mine)

(Hebrews 10:5-7 NKJV) Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. {6} In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. {7} Then I said, 'Behold, I have come; In the volume of the book it is written of Me; To do Your will, O God.'"

Here we see that as Jesus came into the world He had a body prepared for Him by the Father and the express intent of His coming into the world was "to do Your will O God.." Jesus had a body that was free from sinful genetic predispositions towards rage, alcoholism, drug addiction, or whatever other negative traits that can be passed on genetically. Basically Jesus was born without any sinful dispositions. His body and nervous system were formed to do the will of God by the creative, body-renewing and forming work of the Holy Spirit.

If the creative work of the Holy Spirit was able to make Jesus’ body such that it was free from sinful tendencies then obviously that power can go to work in our bodies also. This gives us hope that long standing biological urges can be erased by the healing and renewing ministry of the Holy Spirit and countless Christian recovery programs attest that this is the case. Alcoholics can and do lose the biological desire to drink, homosexuals can and do have their sexual orientation set right, drug addicts can and do completely lose their cravings, sex addicts can be and are freed from the torment of 24hr a day lust. But is this a realistic and a scriptural expectation? Lets look at Romans 8:11

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

The Holy Spirit can give life to our mortal bodies – not just our resurrection bodies, but the very bodies we have now, our mortal bodies. His renewing life can pulse through us and cleanse us from sins and addictions just as he can heal a person from illness or disease. Like a divine electrician he can fix the fuse box and rewire the house so the circuitry functions as it was always meant to – for the glory of God.

The biological basis of sin is not separate from the spiritual basis of sin. When God delivers you from sin He can deliver you from sin in your spirit, sin in your soul and eventually from the power of sin in your members. He can fix the physical and medical basis of rage, lust, addictions and anti-social behaviour. Minimal brain dysfunction, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and whatever else may be engraved in our neural tissue - can be healed by the Holy Spirit.

Lets see how this happened for the Christians at Corinth:

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, {10} nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. {11} And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

The Corinthian Christians has come from some pretty terrible backgrounds including fornication and adultery (sexual addiction), homosexuals and sodomites (probably pedophiles in this case), and drunkards (alcoholics). These behaviors are generally acknowledged to have a strong and persistent biological and neurological component.

However they are now PAST behaviors, they have been repented of and forsaken and the Corinthians are now washed and made holy! "Such WERE some of you" - its over, dealt with, fixed. And this transformation took place "in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God". Paul puts it this way….

(Romans 8:13 NKJV) For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

(Galatians 5:16-18 NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. {17} For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. {18} But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The Spirit can deal with the flesh in both its spiritual and biological aspects. We are not at the mercy of our genetics or our addictions. The Holy Spirit can set us free! What He did in constructing the body of Jesus so that it was prepared to do God's will can be done for you as well "for nothing is impossible to him who believes".

The Soul and Spirit of Jesus

Listed below are all the direct gospel references to the soul and spirit of Jesus Christ.

(Matthew 26:38 NKJV) Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."

(Matthew 27:50 NKJV) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

(Mark 2:8 NKJV) But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

(Mark 8:12 NKJV) But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation."

(Mark 14:34 NKJV) Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch."

(Luke 10:21 NKJV) In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

(Luke 23:46 NIV) Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

(John 11:33 NKJV) Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

(John 12:27 NKJV) "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

(John 13:21 NKJV) When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."

(John 19:30 NIV) When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Three things especially stand out:

Ø That Jesus perceived life's situations with His Spirit.

Ø That Jesus was moved on the basis of those perceptions.

Ø That Jesus candidly expressed His emotions to those closest to Him.

[Also to be noted are His ability to surrender His spirit to God and that with the surrender of His spirit His life ended.]Note the power and depth of Jesus reactions. He cries out with a loud voice, is troubled unto death, or rejoices greatly. His Spirit-filled emotions were powerful and present. He is no antiseptic, calm beyond belief, purely logical and mental being. The triumphs and tragedies of faith move Him deeply indeed - as they have moved all great men and women of God.

Jesus And Perception

In Mark 2:8 Jesus "perceived in His spirit". The spirit is the true organ for the perception of reality for Jesus as Isaiah declared in one of the best known passages in the Bible:

(Isaiah 11:1-5 NKJV) There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. {2} The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. {3} His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; {4} But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. {5} Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.

The presence of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus gave Him extraordinary knowledge and wisdom so that He judged situations righteously and truthfully and inwardly. He did not judge situations as they appeared to the eyes and ears and to sense perception (verse 3 above). Rather He judged life's situations with a spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and knowledge that saw into the heart of things. This special perception that Jesus had shows in many of the gospel encounters and is neatly summarized by the apostle John who writes: (John 2:24 NKJV) But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men. ( see also Matthew 9:4, 12:25, Mark 5:30, 12:15 Luke 11;17, John 5:6, 6:61, 64 , 13:1-3, 18:4)

Jesus' perceptions of situations then led to His emotional reactions to them. On sensing His impending death His soul was troubled unto death, on seeing the grief at Lazarus's tomb He groaned in spirit and was troubled, when the disciples returned victorious He rejoiced, when He perceived the hardness of heart of the Pharisees He became angry, and when He sees masses of people coming out after healing and teaching He is moved with compassion. (see "objection 3 in the previous chapter) . Jesus then expressed these emotions powerfully but appropriately. There is always great dignity in the reactions of Jesus Christ. His emotionality was deep and expressive - never trivial, sentimental or chaotic. This then gives us a process for our own emotionality:

1. Perceive life spiritually, righteously, truthfully and with a Kingdom perspective.

2. React in our soul and spirit. Be moved by life. Not aloof and detached or cold and hard.

3. Express those reactions with dignity, power and poise. Be full-hearted emotionally but also be wise in expression.

In the next chapter we will see that the apostles and many great men and women of God over the centuries have done precisely this - bringing their emotions under the control and empowerment of the Spirit of God so they reacted to things no longer from a merely human perspective with its five senses and self-interest but from a divine perspective with spiritual perception and true Kingdom interests. This is what makes a good Christian biography so compelling - we sense a different way of looking at the world - a heart controlled by God and seeing His interests in all things. In that chapter I will argue that a Kingdom perspective is not only good for our sanctification it is also critical for good emotional health and a high EQ. However I have more to say about the emotional life of Jesus first.

The Beliefs of Jesus Christ

Emotions flow from beliefs. When I was a young boy I was playing by the local creek when I found a huge lump of iron pyrites (Fool’s Gold) and it was heavy and soft and looked like gold. I showed my brother Peter and we went home very secretively so nobody could see us with our important find. We then showed Dad and said, “We are rich! We are rich! We found this huge lump of gold and there’s more just down by the creek!” Dad just laughed and explained about Fool’s Gold. Even though our belief was not a true belief it still made us very happy while it lasted. We were so excited, not by actually finding gold, because we didn’t actually find gold, but by the belief that we had found gold. When this belief was corrected, our emotion of joy was unsupported by an adequate belief, and it vanished. We went from very excited to being a bit disappointed. Once the belief vanished, the emotion vanished. Underneath emotions are beliefs, if you take way the belief the emotion vanishes, if you change the belief sufficiently, the emotion changes.

How we believe has a direct affect on how we feel. This applies even in spiritual things. So if , like Jesus, you think that stealing houses from poor widows is wrong, you will react to it with the intensity that Jesus did. The difference between a video camera recording an event and a person seeing the event is that the person has prior beliefs. These prior beliefs cause the person to react to what they see. Lets look at three incidents in the life of Jesus to see how His beliefs informed His emotional reactions and made them different from those of so called "normal people". First we will look at His cleansing of the temple:

(Mark 11:15-17 NKJV) So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. {16} And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. {17} Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"

(John 2:13-17 NKJV) Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {14} And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. {15} When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. {16} And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" {17} Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."

What beliefs of Jesus lay behind the strength of His reaction here? In Mark's gospel we see that Jesus believed :

a) That the purpose of the Temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations.

b) But that it had become a robbers den.

In John's gospel Jesus is shown believing that it is :

c) My Father's house

b) But instead it had become a house of merchandise (with the implication that it was dishonest trade.

[The accounts are not contradictory they just report slightly different samples of Jesus reactions at the time. It is probable that he said many other things as well while He was overturning the tables.]

Lets look at the sequence of events. Jesus believes it should be A but perceives it is in fact B this leads to emotional reaction C which is expressed in verbal and physical behaviour D. For Jesus His beliefs included the honor due to His Father , the fact that the right use of the temple was prayer and that all nations should have access to it. They also included the belief that trade, especially dishonest trade was inappropriate in such a location. These were not widely and strongly held beliefs in His time otherwise the traders would not have been there in the first place. His unique beliefs led to His unique emotional reaction based on His spiritual perception of the nature of the situation.

Lets move on and look at another of Jesus' puzzling reactions - during a fierce storm on the lake of Galilee.

(Matthew 8:24-26 NKJV) And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. {25} Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" {26} But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Here Jesus' belief seems to have been that He was absolutely safe and that nothing could touch Him because His Father was protecting Him and the disciples. His belief also included the fact that it was a sane and reasonable thing for Him to speak to waves and wind and expect that they would obey Him. Furthermore He seems to believe that the disciples ought to share these beliefs and were quite unjustified in being fearful in the midst of such a storm.

Based on these beliefs Jesus perception of the situation seems to have been "Not a problem!". It just wasn't a big deal. To say that this is "counter-intuitive" and defies all common sense is no under-statement. Nevertheless his beliefs were justified for He calmed the storm with a word. It truly wasn't a problem for Him at all.

People of great faith have a tremendous poise in crisis situations. In a later chapter we shall learn how to handle situations we dread from a position of faith and a sense of mastery. Here Jesus beliefs led to Him having emotions of calm and a sense of mastery in a crisis situation and enabled Him to take effective action to remedy the situation.

For our third illustration of Jesus' belief system we will go a few verses earlier in Matthew 8 to see the only time Jesus is recorded as "marveling" at something…

(Matthew 8:7-14 NKJV) And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." {8} The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. {9} "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." {10} When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! {11} "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. {12} "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." {13} Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.

Here Jesus is marveling at the "great faith" of the Roman centurion. There are many beliefs of Jesus recorded here such as the hardness of Israel, the salvation of the Gentiles and the power of His commands to heal the sick but none of these beliefs are the mainstay of His marveling at the centurion. Jesus is reacting to the presence of great faith in an unexpected place - a Gentile and a soldier, a man who was outside of the covenant and whose job was killing people and who was in part responsible for the occupation of His nation.

This was the reaction of one belief structure to another belief structure. The centurion expressed His beliefs about a) his unworthiness as a Gentile (though a powerful man) to have Jesus visit him and b) His belief in Jesus' authority and the power of His words of command. As the centurion expressed these beliefs Jesus in turn resonated with them. Just as the hardness of heart of the Pharisees enraged Him, just as the littleness of faith of the disciples disappointed Him, the great faith of the centurion encouraged and astonished Him. It was a "rare find" "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! .

So we see that belief structures react to one another and evaluate one another. When we find another who is astonishingly full of faith we rejoice. When we find someone hard and cynical and unbelieving we are discouraged or angered. Like Jesus we search out those that resonate with us. They are a rare find and a treasure. The way we interact with others will depend in large measure on what we believe about what they believe. Much inter-denominational misunderstanding revolves around "what we believe about what they believe" and the strong emotional reactions that result. It’s a critical area for mental health and is why some types of fundamentalism though very sound in many areas are incredibly damaging psychologically.

Putting It All Together

Earlier we saw that perceptions led to internal emotions which were then expressed appropriately. Later we have seen that our perceptions work in with our beliefs to produce astonishing emotional reactions that are unique to the Christ-like Spirit-filled believer. On top of this we have a physical predisposition to certain types of emotional reactions and behaviours - covered in the first part of this chapter. Thus we can say that for Jesus and the Spirit-filled believer the steps are: 1. Perception of person or situation - ideally in the Spirit. 2. Interaction of perception with belief system. 3. Internal emotion generated. 4. Interaction of internal emotion with physical predisposition. 5. Expression of emotion outwardly.

Situation

Perception

Personal Belief System

Internal Emotion Generated

Interaction with physical predisposition


Outward expression of the emotional reaction