So, I am a spiritual feeler. I am not as sensitive as some people that I know, but I am sensitive enough to have to learn how to control my reactions to what I feel. If you are not a spiritual feeler, learning to control reactions to feelings is a foreign and maybe even completely ridiculous concept. For me, this is such an important skill, that my inability to communicate how I think on the subject is super-frustrating.
In my mind, part of learning to control reactions to feelings, is the understanding that my emotions can be played with. The spiritual atmosphere in an area can cause me to feel a certain way or a spirit being of some type can produce emotions of different varieties. These emotions and feelings do not originate from within me so I must learn to differentiate them from my own. Being able to discern what is my emotion and what is enacted upon me is HUGE. When I recognize that an emotion I am feeling is not my own, I, being a son of God, and in full control of myself, have a choice whether I let that emotion affect me or choose a different emotion.
Unfortunately, emotions are connected to EVERYTHING. I feel my own emotions DEEPLY. So, when I am seemingly unfeeling about something, I have consciously or subconscionsly chosen to do so. That can be healthy or unhealthy.
And that is the key: choice. God created us with the ability to choose, and I believe choose almost everything as it pertains to our own sphere of control, which in reality, is just us. We get to choose how we feel, how we react, if someone else gets to affect our emotions, our responses to their actions, etc… The most fortunate part of being a “spiritual feeler” is that, if we want our sanity then we can choose to learn to choose. The unfortunate part of not being a spiritual feeler is that most of you think I am crazy in thinking that I can choose how I feel.
Example? We all seem to have hot button topics that really set us off and make us angry. If I set out to purposefully push your buttons, you have, in that moment, a choice to make. Do you let that button-pushing make you angry or do you choose to not get angry? If you do let it make you angry, do you choose to sin in your anger or not sin in your anger?
I believe the order of the Fruits of the Spirit as listed in Scripture is key to self-control being possible. Jesus told us about the first and second greatest commandments and those boil down to love. Love is also the first Fruit of the Spirit listed and I believe making the choice to love in all things and at all times enables: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And that. of course, ties into 1 Cor 13 but that is a whole other sermon.
I think that it is our God-given right and responsibility to learn how to control what we let affect us and I believe Jesus modeled this for us; He did it by the Fruit of the Spirit of self-control. If Jesus did that as a baseline, then we can do at least that. After all. the same Spirit is in us as was in Him.