November 12, 2021, 12:00 AM

Music Blog



Act Yourself into a Better Way of Feeling


In the summer of 1971, a team of researchers led by psychology professor Phillips Zimbardo divided a group of undergraduates randomly into two groups, prisoners and prison guards, and arranged for them to act out their respective roles in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

Within days, the guards began to display authoritarian attitudes, ultimately subjecting some of the prisoners to intentional humiliation. The prisoners developed passive attitudes, many sinking into a depressed state. The experiment had to be stopped after only six days.

The Stanford prison experiment is often said to illustrate the power of social roles in shaping behavior, but it also illustrates the power of behavior to elicit real powerful emotions. The guards in Zimbardo's experiments were not really guards. And the prisoners were not prisoners. They were all volunteers. They were all students. But once they began to act the part, they began to feel the part.


Emotions are strong factors in our lives. Fortunately, for the Christian, emotions don’t have to and should never be the horse that pulls the cart. Why is it that we have so much of a struggle with out feelings? As we saw in the Stanford experiment people began to feel and experience what they were acting, even when there wasn’t a hint of reality. Both groups were students yet the more they acted the part the stronger the emotions were. Here is an interesting take on this by Jon Bloom of Desiring God ministries.

God designed your emotions to be gauges, not guides. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you. The pattern of your emotions (not every caffeine-induced or sleep-deprived one!) will give you a reading on where your hope is because they are wired into what you believe and value — and how much. That’s why emotions like delight (Psalm 37:4), affection (Romans 12:10), fear (Luke 12:5), anger (Psalm 37:8), joy (Psalm 5:11), etc., are so important in the Bible. They reveal what your heart loves, trusts, and fears. At Desiring God we like to say pleasure is the measure of your treasure, because the emotion of pleasure is a gauge that tells you what you love.

But because our emotions are wired into our fallen natures as well as into our regenerated natures, sin and Satan have access to them and will use them to try and manipulate us to act faithlessly. That’s why our emotional responses to temptation can seem like imperatives (you must do…) rather than indicatives (here’s what you’re being told). Just remember, that’s deceit.

Emotions aren’t imperatives; they’re not your boss. They’re indicatives; they’re reports. That’s why Paul wrote, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Romans 6:12).

So get ready today. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He will make promises to and/or threats against you. He will likely try and tap into your weak areas of unbelief and you may find your emotions surging in the wrong direction.


  1. like what Dr. Bloom says about desire. Our desire shows what we love. Does that get in your mind like it does mine? Here’s a thought, what if changing your desires was as easy as changing your shirt? think scripture teaches something like that, “Put on the full armor or God” “Guard your heart, for from it flows springs of life. Prov. 4:23. have told my own kids many times, garbage in garbage out. t’s just as true today as it was then and maybe we just need to revisit those old sayings. have a friend who is struggling and they want to escape everything, go and start all over. f you take a deeper look in their life you might find that the problem isn’t location, rather its an allocation of time and energy. We all want and probably demand a stress free life. We often don’t want to deal with the heart of the issue: our heart!


So where are you today? Where am I? Years ago I read an illustration of the relationship of our feelings to our faith. The author used a train as an example. The engine of the train is Fact, the cargo or people cars is Faith and the caboose was Feelings. Many people live their entire life trying to run their train with the caboose. Does that sound too familiar? If so, there is hope. Paul said to Timothy, Study to show yourself approved. Get into the Word. Let the fact of God’s word determine what your heart will feel. I promise if you do this, you will find that your feelings are changing and your desires become less for the things of this world and more for God Himself. This last bit is the wrap up of the Psychology Today article that this blog started with.


The bottom line message is useful not just for people with depression, but for anyone interested in maintaining sound mental hygiene. The shortest, most reliable way to change how you're feeling is to change what you're doing. When you feel bad, don't wait to feel good to do what you love. Start doing what you love. Good feelings will likely follow.


And so will God’s Blessings,





11-12-2021 at 1:30 PM
The Lord knew what I needed to hear today!
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