In my last post, I introduced two biblical margins needed for our Thoughts and Emotions – Love and Focus. I’m excited by the reports I’m getting from readers of how this series is touching them. One reader shared and commented on the post at Bible study. That’s terrific news! I encourage you to share Epiphany with your friends – email the link, share it on Facebook, or print it out and read the scriptures together with your small group or family. And be sure to let them know how they can access the blog themselves. That’s what it’s all about.

            Today, we’ll explore the margins needed for our Mind and Emotions. The final two are – Motive and Unity.
            There’s a reason why we think and feel the way we do. We may not realize it, but we have motives. Why not invite God to examine our motives and adjust our attitudes before we act in destructive ways. “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve” (Jer. 17:10).
            The Holy Spirit helps us learn to examine ourselves as well, asking questions like: Why do I feel so angry? Why am I worrying about this? Where is this jealousy coming from? Why am I being deceived when I know the truth?
            Here are a few powerful scriptures that delve into the motives behind sinful thoughts:
We need to be fully committed – 1 Ch 28:9
Our hearts need to be cleansed – Mt 15:19
We need to let the Bible read us – Heb 4:12
Clutter can hinder our prayers – 1 Pe 4:7
We must desire what is morally beneficial – 2 Pe 3:1
This is tough stuff, I know, but cleansing and freeing to get to the root of the problem.
            The last margin we need to make in our relationships is to pursue unity with fellow believers. So often we allow our thoughts and emotions spill over into negative comments. These cause division. Jesus’ spent himself praying for the unity of His followers, knowing it would be convincing proof of the truth of His message. If people from vastly different families, cultures, social status, opinions, and personalities can hang out together and truly love each other, the world will stop and take notice!
            We must train our mind and emotions (remember the puppy) to seek harmony with fellow believers, both those we feel a natural kinship with, as well as those we disagree with on non-essentials (like what kind of music and what color carpet and chairs). Here are just a few scriptures on unity: 1 Ch 30:12; Ac 4:32; 1 Co 1:10; & 2 Co 13:11.
            The word “emotions” is not used in most translations of the Bible. Instead, emotions are dealt with individually. The Messageparaphrase has fifteen occurrences of the word. They confirm that emotions without healthy margins will take control and cause destruction in our relationship with God, others, and to us personally.
            Here’s what I found in the Bible about emotions:
Runaway emotions cause serious physical ailments – Pr 14:30 & Mt 4:23-25 and fights – Pr 30:32-33
They make us susceptible to wrong teaching – Mt 7:15-20.
Conversions to Christ based on emotion don’t last; we need depth to face difficulties.
Emotion is a natural part of worship – Mt 13:20-21 & Ac 28:14-16

The truth of the message is not dependent on an emotional presentation – 1 Co 2:3-5

Beware of so-called believers who take advantage of you with emotional appeals – 1 Ti 5:3-8.
            I hope you will take the time to read these verses on your own. They are rich with wisdom and solid food for the mature, and the maturing, in order to obtain emotions lovingly trained by the Master. He knows what’s best and gives us everything we need for life and godliness.
            The last post of this series is coming next week: “Margins in Spiritual Life and Ministry.” May God show you how to create room to breathe and grow stronger in each vital area of life.