Rudder for Life

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV)
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14)
In the Apple TV series Ted Lasso, the football coach confronts his captain, whose life is driven by his emotions. When Roy Kent fumes at him that “I can’t control how I feel”, Ted Lasso calmly replies, “Then by all means let how you feel control you!” Ted Lasso places his finger on the freedom that Paul is celebrating in Philippians 4:4-7. We have two choices in front of us, and only one of them leads to true freedom.

Think of it this way: Your emotions are like a sail. They are big and powerful and, if we let them, they can drive our lives. When filled with fear, our emotions are like a sail in hurricane. Imagine a sailboat in a hurricane with no rudder. It wouldn’t be free. It would be tossed and thrown about everywhere – just like anybody who lives life by ‘the flesh’.

Instead of allowing our flesh to dominate the way we live our lives, the Apostle Paul tells us to “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Reasonableness means using our mental reasoning to make wise, faith-filled choices that drive us forward into God’s will. This is the opposite of being unreasonable and allowing our emotions and circumstances to throw us back and forth onto the rocks that will sink us.

Don’t misunderstand the Apostle Paul. He isn’t telling us that our mind is good and that our emotions are bad. Our thinking can be driven by our flesh every bit as much as our emotions. Paul is simply telling us that we need to submit both our mind and our emotions to the Holy Spirit. As we replace panic with prayer, and as we replace emotion with evaluation, we walk in the Spirit with our mind and heart and body. We become finally free.

The Apostle Paul explains this a little further in Titus 2. He tells us that the Gospel brings us freedom from sin, as well as forgiveness for sin. It teaches us to walk each day with the Spirit, who overcomes our flesh and empowers us to say “no” to ungodliness and “yes” to serving Jesus every moment of our lives. The Gospel helps us to become reasonable people. It gives us a rudder for life, which gives us freedom.
  1. Have you ever said what Roy Kent says in Ted Lasso? What does it say about us whenever we say something like “That’s just who I am. I can’t help the way I feel”?
  2. Is your reasonableness evident to everyone?
  3. When did you last pray explicitly about submitting your emotions to the Holy Spirit? If you would like him to teach you to say “no” to sin and “yes” to godliness, then tell him so. Ask him to help you use his rudder today.
Holy Spirit, I thank you that you dwell inside me and that you empower me to follow Jesus from the inside out. I confess to you that I am far too often driven by my emotions. Help me to rudder my emotions with my mind, and help me to renew my mind through your Word. Help me to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God in every area. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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