By Omar Rojas
As a man, cultivating your emotional life in your relationship with God and others is important.
Think of David the shepherd boy. Well, that is what he was at one point. But we see him develop into this giant-slaying warrior. Out of all the people in Israel, an emerging young man beheads the giant Goliath with Goliath’s own sword. Then as he resides with the king of Israel, the people sing “Saul has slain thousands, but David his tens of thousands!” (1 Sam 18:7).
Let’s face it. David the warrior man was an incomparable killer in his time. He was unstoppable. Saul even desired that David would die in battle, but his jealousy was never quenched. If you fast forward in time when David is king, we find David’s scandalous orchestration. He lusts after Bathsheba and strategically places her husband Uriah in battle to die. David then takes Bathsheba for his own. A killer and an adulterer—David was a savage.
Still, God spoke of David as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam 13:14), and God never went back on his word. In contrast, God publicly pronounced his sorrow over Saul’s failure as king of Israel. Saul stood out in stature for he was taller than everyone else; but David’s relentless pursuit of God is what made him stand out.
David was a man of emotions. He knew what it was like to feel with intensity. He knew what it was like to be afraid for his life and be disgusted with himself for an atrocious sin.
What distinguishes him was his self-awareness and his ability to express himself before God. 73 Psalms are credited to his authorship. He even composed a funeral song for Saul (2 Sam 1:17-27), the king that was trying to kill him! He was raw before God, and others saw his transparency. Intense emotions call for a healthy outlet so that they may be released appropriately. Whether it was confessing, mourning, expressing anger or frustration, David sought God in his darkest nights.
On the other hand, we find Saul unstable, as a man hijacked by emotion, with clouded logic that informed his actions. His actions were dangerous to others and to his own soul. He threw his spear at David and his own son Jonathan. He even consulted a medium when God would not respond.
One of the distinctions of the imperfect “man after God’s own heart” is how he expressed himself freely. It is not about being driven by emotional-spear-throwing-impulses. It is about expressing yourself before God without restraint while surrendering to the Holy Spirit to work in your mess. David dared to come before God with, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). These were the same words that Jesus Christ prayed on the cross! You see, God is not intimidated by your emotion.
Where do you turn? Or what do you turn to? How do you release your emotions? Do you suppress, avoid, or release them in an unhealthy way? Depending upon your upbringing and culture, this may be tough. I know it is something that I have struggled with. There are certain patterns we resort to because that is what we have learned. Take some time to analyze yourself.
I challenge you to cultivate your emotional life with God. Show up. Don’t be an emotional-spear-throwing-man. Be who God created you to be in your masculine nature—be a man of emotions.
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