Emotions are an essential dimension of our being. Without them, we’re unable to experience to the fullest some of the most important moments of our lives; they help us make direct connections with others on a variety of levels. For example, a simple conversation advances to the level of a sublime heart-to-heart talk between emotionally connected people.
The Bible says God created humankind in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26); that is, we share characteristics of God Himself. The Scriptures also talk about God’s emotions—among them love (John 3:16), laughter (Psalm 2:4a), joy (Isaiah 62:5b), compassion (Psalm 103:13), and grief (Psalm 78:40). We readily grasp God’s emotions as described in these verses because of our own emotional makeup, and this understanding is a key facet of our ability to connect with Him. In fact, emotions are required for connecting with God in a meaningful way. One of the most important instructions concerning our relationship with God is found in Deuteronomy. Jesus referred to it as the Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37–38).
Emotions that help us connect beyond ourselves can often be temporary or fleeting. But God’s love is constant: “God is love” (1 John 4:8, emphasis added). While our emotions will rise and fall like an ocean tide, God’s emotions, especially His love and compassion, are steady: “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38–39).
We have been created to connect with others through our emotions and feelings. The Bible reveals that, in order to have a genuine connection, these same emotions are essential for relating with God. Emotions lift prayer or simple Bible reading to more than just an intellectual pursuit. They help establish the foundation of a lifelong relationship that has personal, eternal significance for us and for all of humanity.