How to Feel Your Emotions With Jesus

By Bill Gaultiere

What role do emotions play in your apprenticeship to Jesus? How about on your mission field?

Early in my life and ministry, I used to discount my feelings and stay in my thinking. I’m not alone.

Many pastors, missionaries, and leaders try too hard to believe and do what’s right. It’s easy to think that correct theology and decisive action will fix your issues and solve the problems of others.

Right thinking is important (especially about Jesus). But correct thinking alone will not help you become more like Jesus or love yourself and others with his unconditional love.

Did you know that Jesus is a feeler? When you read the Bible slowly and carefully (with the help of the Spirit) you will see that the Son of God experienced and expressed deep and vivid emotions about many things in life.

Learning the art of emotions helps all of us to look and love more like Jesus.

I’ve found 39 different emotions that Jesus experienced. Most of us probably can’t even name 39 emotions—much less feel and verbalize them all!

It is comforting, encouraging, and imploring that Jesus demonstrates the full range of human emotions and expresses them in perfect love.

Jesus’ emotional experience, like ours, includes conditions of the whole person, such as intentions, attitudes, physical states, and relational postures.

Emotion-filled scriptures are like a mirror that helps reflect your true feelings back to you. Let’s meditate together:

  • Jesus got angry with the Pharisees who opposed his healing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:5).
  • He felt genuine love for people like the Rich Young Ruler, his disciples, and his friends (Mark 10:21, John 11:5, John 13:1).
  • Our Savior became deeply distressed and prayed with great anxiety before the cross that he sweated drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
  • Jesus felt amazed by the faith of the Roman officer (Luke 7:9).
  • Jesus wept with sadness over those who rejected God’s offer of peace (Luke 19:41).
  • The Suffering Servant had compassion for people who were in need (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34).
  • He was exceedingly joyful when his disciples ministered the power of Abba’s kingdom to people (Luke 10:21).

Becoming whole and holy like Jesus in your heart comes from embracing his emotions and befriending your own. He wants to help you grow in emotional honesty and maturity by empathizing with you (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Coming to know and admire Jesus the Feeler will help you value and feel your own feelings—surfacing your hurts, needs, longings, and desires. Bringing these into your apprenticeship with Jesus will deepen your intimacy with him as your relationship becomes more open, honest, and authentic.

Feeling your emotions also empowers you to become a wounded healer—feeling the pain of others more deeply and offering the comfort of Christ more tenderly (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). All of your ministry—praying, evangelizing, discipling, teaching, counseling, etc.—will be clothed in Christ’s compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12).

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving us empathy and grace in all of our emotions to help us love God, ourselves, and the people around us!

You can find more resources to grow in emotional health and loving leadership on the Soul Shepherding website like our new book Healthy Feelings, Thriving Faith. Plus, our team of Spiritual Directors would love to listen and empathize with you as you grow in emotional honesty and intimacy with Jesus.


This article is submitted by Carolyn Trevino of Soul Shepherding.  Soul Shepherdingis a Missio Nexus member.  Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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