As human beings we are subject to various moods. Certain things may put us in a bad mood, e.g. our sports team losing the grand final or the loss of your wallet. A good mood may come upon us when our team wins or we come into money. When it comes to moods we can run the whole gamut from elation all the way down to depression. Our moods are tied to our emotions. If grumpy someone may ask if we got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning, and if happy we may be asked if we have just won the lottery! Some of us may spend years trying to keep a lid on our emotions; anger, anxiety etc. However, moods are part of human nature. Mood swings usually relate to responses to events.
Jesus, the perfect human, wept beside a friend’s grave, got angry with money-lenders, and experienced both joy and sorrow. Jesus, being God, has two natures, divine and human. Theologians debate whether Jesus’s divine nature felt pain and suffered when He was on the cross. If we keep in mind that Jesus is one divine Person with two distinct natures forever we’ll get something of an idea how hard it is to know if God has emotions. In other words, a Person not a nature experiences emotion. Oil and water don’t mix and neither do Christ’s two natures. Oil on water can be set on fire but not the water. This is because oil and water have different properties. Therefore, it would seem safe to assume that the divine Person of Christ would experience emotion on two distinct levels, i.e., the physical level and the divine level. The following example may be a tad gruesome but a person having their leg amputated without anaesthetic could be asked how the pain they were experiencing was affecting them emotionally. In other words, we too are affected on different levels.
Was God in a good mood the day He poured out His angry wrath on His Son as He hung on the cross for the sins of His people? Did the Father experience sadness when His Son died? Did the Spirit mourn or grieve when the Son was laid in the tomb? Did God shout for joy when His Son was raised from the dead? I think we can safely say that God experienced all these moods – humanly speaking! And there’s the rub. We simply have to say that God is without human passions. Otherwise we run the risk of confusing the two natures of Christ.
Is there any practical application in knowing that God through Jesus Christ knows human emotion at a human and divine level? Well, first off let’s acknowledge that God is not subject to moods. You’ll never catch God having a bad day! He’s not subject to His creation or any events. He’s in sovereign control of all things. Hence we hold that Almighty God is without passions (at least as we understand them). Secondly, because in God ‘there is no variation or shadow of turning’ we can approach Him knowing He won’t chew our heads off for disturbing Him! As the Prophet Jonah said, ‘You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm’ Jonah 4:2b, (cf., Exodus 34:6-7). And thirdly, because of God’s grace we can say ‘“No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ Titus 2:12. Therefore, let’s work towards controlling our moods rather than having them control us.
Don’t wait till you’re in the mood: call on Christ today!