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We tend to think of ourselves as extremely complicated creatures that defy understanding. It is true that we are creatures. It is true that we are complicated. It is true that we are often decieved about ourselves. These truths, however, do not add up to the sum of absolute impossibility regarding self-awareness. We can understand ourselves with the light of God's Word and the assistance of a small group of fellow believers.
Today, I just wanted to mention that we have seven basic emotions according to the Bible, and each of them are capable of being understood and regulated appropriately.
WHAT!?!? Surely, Josh, there are more emotions inside of me than these. You may experience what seems to be a limitless and infinite exspanse of emotion, but you are simply experiencing some combination of these seven emotions to varying degrees of intensity.
Allow me to illustrate. Sometimes, it is cold outside. Sometimes, it is hot. But really, there is no such thing as cold. Cold is merely the absence of heat. Heat is measured in degrees on a thermometer according to its presence or absence. It is exactly the same with our emotions!
Allow me to list the seven Biblical Emotions:
That's it! You may ask, "What about hatred? What about bitterness?" This is a legitimate question, but the truth is that hatred and bitterness are simply intensified forms of anger. "What about envy? What about depression?" Again, those are simply intensified forms of jealousy and sorrow. "What about low self-esteem?" That, ironically, is in the category of fear. Low self-esteem means that you are overly fearful of what others think of you. Again, the Bible takes our secular definitions and forces them to fit into categories which the Lord knows and understands. He speaks to our hearts on His own terms.
Now, this is helpful because it means that we can boil what we are feeling down to a simple category, and then we can search the Scriptures for counsel and guidance into why we feel the way that we feel, and we can turn to the Lord for assistance in sorting out why we have these emotions and how to deal with them.