self control

Last week, I promised that we would examine the effects of strong emotions and address how to recognize feelings from the Holy Spirit before we end this series on feelings.

In Part One I mentioned that a couple of the synonyms for ‘feelings’ were of interest:

“EMOTION is applied to an intensified feeling: agitated by emotion.

PASSION is strong or violent emotion, often so overpowering that it masters the mind or judgment: stirred to a passion of anger.”

I was surprised when I learned how important it is to keep these two aspects of feelings under control, for the power of the Holy Spirit to guide my life. Growing up in a French Canadian family did not lend itself to teaching me constraint with my emotions-glad or sad.

Strong emotions such as revenge, contempt, contention or fear will drive away the Holy Ghost. The Lord cannot communicate with us when our hearts are hardened, filled with bitterness, anger, resentment, malice or pride.

“Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” Hebrews 4:7

As I’ve learned a little at a time to seek and acquire the strength, companionship and confidence of the Spirit of the Lord, the outcome is always much more superior than my past attempts of controlling outcomes (fear) and loud confrontations. “Strong emotion” and “passion”- I confess it’s a relief and very empowering as I’ve let go of such demonstrations.

“Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled …” 1Peter 4:10

Even to be enabled to write and share with you, the Lord reminds me to be at peace and calm in my body that my mind may have clarity and to be able to feel the Spirit’s promptings. I assure you, whenever I’ve become agitated, I may as well not bother typing a word. His inspiration and direction is that important to me. It is impossible to feel the Spirit and at the same time feel worried, unsettled, unhappy or afraid.

Recognizing Feelings from the Holy Spirit

There are occasions when the Lord is manifest in miraculous ways through dreams, visions or visitations. Most often He is heard through a soft and gentle voice that comes into our hearts and minds. This ‘still small voice’, is accompanied by a deep peace in the heart and a quiet warm feeling in the bosom. This confirmation is a feeling, a thought, an impression that speaks deeply to our soul.

“Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

President Ezra Taft Benson has expressed it this way: “We hear the words of the Lord most often by a feeling. If we are humble and sensitive, the Lord will prompt us through our feelings. That is why spiritual promptings move us on occasion to great joy, sometimes to tears. Many times my emotions have been made tender and my feelings very sensitive when touched by the Spirit.”

When we feel the Spirit’s influence, we feel content, relaxed, and serene. The Holy Ghost causes our feelings to become very tender. We feel more charitable and compassionate. We are calmer. We have a greater capacity to love. We feel comfort in His touch.

To determine whether or not it is His voice that we hear, we can ask ourselves, “Do I feel the emotions the Spirit would bring?” When goodness and positive emotions- the feelings of love, joy, peace longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith (Galatians 5:22) surround us, we can be sure the Spirit is near.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” Revelation 2:11

Recently, my friend posted this marvelous quote on his blog: “The Greatest Guarantor of Inward Peace

“The Spirit of the Holy Ghost is the greatest guarantor of inward peace in our unstable world. It can be more mind-expanding and can make us have a better sense of well-being than any chemical or other earthly substance. It will calm nerves; it will breathe peace to our souls. This Comforter can be with us as we seek to improve. It can function as a source of revelation to warn us of impending danger and also help keep us from making mistakes. It can enhance our natural senses so that we can see more clearly, hear more keenly, and remember what we should remember. It is a way of maximizing our happiness.” James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1989, 32–33

“Behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask Me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;” Doctrines and Covenants 9:8-9

There is never a time we feel closer to our Father in Heaven than when the Holy Ghost is with us. Oh that every one of Heavenly Father’s children would accept the glorious privileges that He bestows on His faithful children. His peace and joy, His love and comforting hand are the sweetest of all glimpses into an exalted life with Him. Meanwhile, these feelings bring us closest to experiencing a bit of heaven on earth.