Often, in our faith journey, we focus on specific areas of our life that we need to grow in. Many will focus on intellectual growth, learning more about the things of God. Others will focus on spiritual growth, letting the things of God grow within them. These are both good things to do.
A successful faith journey makes course corrections along the way. “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21 NLT).
Another area for us to grow in is our emotions. We mustn’t think that our faith journey is narrowly dependent on any one area of our life, for it is our entire life that the Lord Jesus wants us to be sanctified. If you want to grow in your faith, you must mature emotionally.
Trust God’s plans more than your feelings. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:11 NKJV).
Too often, people will think that emotional maturity is having less emotion in their lives. They will try to cover up their pain and their anger, and all the while, it continues to build up within them. Emotional maturity isn’t trying to turn off your emotions but to process them appropriately.
One of the greatest signs of a mature faith is in the mercy shown to others. “The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: ‘See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God’” (Micah 6:8 CEV).
Emotional maturity is where the believer has control over their emotions as opposed to their emotions having control over them. The way the mature believer does this is by allowing the Lord to have control over them. You only hold onto what you have refused to give to God.
If you don’t control your emotions, they will control you. “A [shortsighted] fool always loses his temper and displays his anger, but a wise man [uses self-control and] holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11 AMP).
Emotional maturity doesn’t mean we don’t have anger, but it means we learn to rebuke unrighteous anger and turn to the Lord to help guide us on how to respond appropriately only to righteous anger. We must learn to separate good from bad in our emotions.
It takes a greater strength to restrain oneself than it does to respond in anger. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12 NIV).
People are going to mistreat us, and when they do, we will find out just how emotionally mature we really are. The Lord allows the test not that you might fail but that you would learn to grow from all you are going through. Don’t squander a chance to grow in the midst of your adversity.
The measure of your faith is how you treat others who mistreat you. Jesus taught, “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 AMP).
Emotional maturity doesn’t mean we won’t have our emotions elevated, with feelings of frustration and anger welling up inside of us. But what it does mean is when the triggers are there, we will learn to let go of things faster and not dwell on them. It is in the dwelling that things overwhelm us.
You only have to carry what you won’t let go of. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV).
As we mature more emotionally, we will start to prepare for the emotionally charged times before they even come upon us. Ee can predetermine not to accept or receive the inappropriate words or the actions that will inevitably come. Darkness cannot invade where the light remains shining.
Never underestimate what God can accomplish through you when others mistreat you. “It is true that you planned to do something bad to me. But really, God was planning good things. God’s plan was to use me to save the lives of many people. And that is what happened.” (Genesis 50:20 ERV).
Wherever you are right now in your emotional maturity, the Lord can take you higher. With all of your might, you must learn to simply let go and place your thoughts directly toward the Lord. The closer you get to God, the further you will be from the antics of men.
What you think about, has you. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV).