Emotion and Core Belief
Emotions Accurate Indicators of Belief
Emotions are produced by our core (heart) beliefs and serve as accurate indicators of these beliefs. This is not to say that our emotions are accurate indicators of what is true; they simply reveal what we believe to be true at a heart level. Some of these beliefs are true, but many are not. But whether we know the truth or lies in our heart, our emotions will match whatever we believe.
It is God’s intention that we know the truth at the heart level. He is highly invested in renewing our minds so that we might know Him experientially and relationally. If all we possess is an intellectual knowledge of God, we do not know Him, we only know about Him. If what we believe in our hearts is not the truth, this will also hinder our relationship with Him. If what we believe in our hearts is not the truth and yet we know the truth intellectually, we will be in a constant state of stress and struggle. When this is the case we are “double-minded and unstable in all our ways...” (Ja. 1)
If what we believe is lie-based, then we will respond accordingly. When we know the truth in our hearts we will have a corresponding emotional response. This is the place from which the “joy of the Lord” flows. The good news is this: when our lie-based core beliefs are replaced with the Lord’s truth, how we feel in the current situation will change to match the truth and the way the memory feels will change accordingly.
For example, if we feel worried and anxious about our finances, this simply means that we have interpreted our circumstance through a belief that is contrary to the truth and not from God’s perspective. We can attempt to tell ourselves the truth, listen to wise counsel, and even quote “God will supply all my needs…” (Phil. 4:19), but until the Holy Spirit illuminates the truth into our hearts, we will continue feeling emotions contrary to the truth.
Knowledge provides no guarantee of freedom or transformation
Nothing we do — apart from looking to God for His truth — will have any lasting effect on lifting our spirits. This is because lie-based belief harbored in the heart can only be renewed by and replaced with experiential truth delivered by the Spirit. Unless the Spirit of Truth illuminates our thinking, making it experiential, we will only possess knowledge. Knowledge provides no guarantee of freedom or transformation, but “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). Transformation that comes from the Spirit, renewing our minds, is the focus of TPM.
This is good news! This means that neither life nor other people can dictate our emotional status. If this were not true, then we would be emotional slaves to life’s circumstances or to those around us. We could never feel anything other than what life or others dictated we feel. The truth is we possess the power to choose to take ownership of our own feelings and move in the direction of God’s freeing truth. Everything that happens from this point forward, feeling or not feeling, remembering or not remembering, moving forward or not, is completely about our free-will choice.