Moods are reactions or swings of our emotions to any given situation. It heavily influences our speech-acts whether we are conscious of it or not. If moods are not controlled, it will greatly affect your speech-act for better or for worse. Thus, if you’re not trained to manage negative moods, the testimony and influence of your speech-act as a Christian are damaged. St. Paul said,
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4)
A Christian then must learn the art of self-control if he wants to control the negative moods that his Old Nature gives him. He must take heed the counsel of Solomon, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Prov. 25:28).
Self-control is an important character and discipline.
Self-control is an important character and discipline. But the question is, how can we achieve this kind of self-control and apply it to our negative moods? The Scripture provides a lot of illustrations and admonitions about self-control. But in this chapter, we will see an interesting story about Peter when he was called by Jesus to walk on the water. It is found in Mt.14: 22-33. After a long day of preaching, Jesus told His disciples to go before him to other side of the province. Perhaps, He wanted to spend time first in private prayer before He will go to the next town. But the disciples were having a hard time to cross over to other side of the Sea of Galilee because the wind was against their boat. But all of a sudden, they saw someone walking on the water.
In their fear, the disciples shouted, “It’s a ghost!” Yet immediately, a voice assured them that it was their master. As usual, the outspoken Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and was able to walk on the water and came to Jesus. But then, when he saw the raging waves and the wind, he was afraid. His panic caused him to sink and to cry to Jesus, “Lord save me!”
Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand to Peter and took hold of him. The Lord said to Peter, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped Jesus, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Now, to see someone walking on water is not only a strange thing but a supernatural thing. History and experience tell us that humans can’t walk on water. It is not a normal human experience. Thus, the fearful reaction of the disciples when they saw Jesus walking on water is justified and proper. In fact, they didn’t know that it was Jesus walking on the water; they only knew that it was him when Jesus called on them.
In this case, we can learn that there are proper moods in a given situation. It is not bad in themselves, but a proper reaction. However, proper moods can become improper when it becomes exaggerated or get extreme.
In this case, we can learn that there are proper moods in a given situation. It is not bad in themselves, but a proper reaction. However, proper moods can become improper when it becomes exaggerated or get extreme. In the case of the disciples, Jesus called on to them so that their fear will be lifted. Of course, if they know that the one who walks on water is their master and not a ghost, then, it is reasonable enough to calm their emotion. But again, if in case their emotion is kept hold by fear, despite hearing Jesus’ voice, then we can say that they are not reacting properly.
They are not controlling their emotion by reason. And so, proper moods become improper when they become unreasonable. And when they become unreasonable, they exaggerate their situation which might lead to self-delusion. In the case of the disciples, if they continued to hold on to their perspective, if they did not listen and believe their Master’s voice, their fear will eat them, make them panic, and would drown them.
Fortunately, Peter courageously regained his composure and was able to verify the voice of Jesus. And as a risk-taker man as he was, he even tested Jesus by asking him to prove his identity by allowing him to walk on the water as well. Honestly, that request was a risky act of faith. But Peter knew his Master and his trust in Jesus’ voice made him overcome his confused emotion.
By faith, we know that Jesus will take care of us. His voice will calm the storm of our difficult situations, will give peace to our confused emotions, and will give us the speech-act of trust and praise in the midst of the storm.
Therefore, we can learn that it is not only reason that controls our emotion but even our faith on Jesus. If we know the Person of our Lord and Savior, no negative situations in life can utterly put us to worry, confusion, and despair. By faith, we know that Jesus will take care of us. His voice will calm the storm of our difficult situations, will give peace to our confused emotions, and will give us the speech-act of trust and praise in the midst of the storm.
- What do we mean by moods?
- How did Elijah snap out of his bad mood?
- How can we handle mood swings?
Lord, help me to take control of my moods every day. Give me the wisdom to manage my moods every single day in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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