Emotional Seasonings

Jackie Clark & Jim Still-Pepper

Imagine your favorite home-cooked meal. Imagine how it looks, how it smells, how it tastes. Now imagine that the person making this meal forgot to add the seasonings that make it look, taste, and smell wonderful. Would you enjoy your favorite meal without any seasoning? with too much seasoning?

Spices Ftr TSP 170604986As a chef adds flavoring to make a meal taste wonderful, God adds emotions so that our lives will be well seasoned. However, in the wrong amounts, emotions can ruin the flavor of our lives.

As a child, I enjoyed watching my mom season homemade pizza sauce. She added salt, oregano, basil, Italian seasonings, garlic powder, and a little crushed red pepper to the tomato sauce. What amazed me was that she never measured the spices. She added a touch of one and a pinch of another, and the sauce was always perfect.

Figuring out how to make a tasty pizza sauce took some experimentation and lots of repetition. Dealing well with emotions also takes experimentation and repetition. The Bible helps us understand how best to use the seasonings God gives us for a flavorful life.

The Spice is Right!

Let’s take a peek at the four basic emotions:

  • Onion2 by James Barker FF ID-100242ANGER is like cayenne pepper. Pour slowly; use sparingly; and think about what is causing your anger, or it will cause you and others great pain. (Exodus 34:6, Psalm 30:5, Ephesians 4:26–27, James 1:19–20)
  • SADNESS is like onion. If you don’t share it with God and with others, it can easily overwhelm you and may lead to depression. (Psalm 18:6, Romans 12:15)
  • FEAR is like sugar. Sugar is in a lot of foods that we don’t expect it to be in. Fear is a subtle force and is often the reason behind much of what we do. The fear of the Lord is good, but the fear that drives most of our decisions is not usually fear of God. (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10, 1 John 4:18)
  • HAPPINESS and JOY are like the right amount of everything. And yet, happiness and joy don’t magically happen. Like all emotions, happiness and joy need to be used well. (Psalm 92:4, Proverbs 15:15, James 5:13)

God gave us emotions so that we can live a seasoned life. Emotions are not bad, but no one wants to eat chocolate cake seasoned with garlic powder or ice cream dipped in a pound of salt. When we fail to understand how to cook with emotions, we struggle. We need to be careful how we use our emotions in each situation we face.

What emotions have you been experiencing in the wrong amounts? List them and figure out what seasonings best represent them. Ask God to help you learn to add just the right amount to your life.

What does your life say about how well you are cooking?



Check out these scripture passages to discover the emotions God or Jesus feels.


Onion image courtesy of James Barker at

Jackie Clark & Jim Still-Pepper — Jackie Clark is a volunteer youth worker who enjoys helping her small group of high school girls season their lives well. She tends to struggle with worry. Jim Still-Pepper is a counselor who often works with teenagers and their emotions. Typically, he is happy; but he struggles with being frustrated.

—from devozine (November/December 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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