Moods are transient and triggered by so many factors. Our thought and behavior are not to be determined by their rapid fluctuations.
One of the disciplines of life is to endeavor to maintain a consistency of attitude and action in spite of our feelings and the way we are affected by circumstances. Our relationship with others can be easily upset by erratic, uneven, unpredictable approaches or responses. Self control has to pay heed to the way our emotions influence other persons. Being even-keeled in a steady, dependable way that does not cause apprehension is not an easy exercise given human vulnerability of temperament and our sensitivity to ever changing conditions especially when they are adverse. Nonetheless mood matters in communication and it is important in our reading of reality. Our subjective state radically determines our appraisal of all that we observe or receive and our opinions vary accordingly. Mood changes minds and they can be altered not only by information but by our prevailing disposition at any given time. In matters of human judgment, for example, love can make us lenient and hostility can make us harsh. We are creatures of predisposition and bias, rationalizing our viewpoints long after they have been formed at a deeper level than our consciousness recognizes. This accounts for the complexity of human nature and all our dealings. We all come from different vantage points and espouse different aims and it is all determined by a heart that is too deep for us to comprehend and exceedingly more sinful (deceitful) than we can ever know (Jeremiah 17:9). The cultivation of consistency and objectivity can only come from the mind of the One who is the source and interpreter of reality, God himself (John 14:6), and our minds are guided and matured by dual exposure to his word and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The truth of God is to govern our unruly moods, and flawed perceptions, train them in our difficulties, purify them so that they are not illusory like dirty lenses, and ennoble them so that our all our faculties are in tune with things as they are when we encounter them. Our outlook is distorted by bad temper, negativity, and fear. If things are not well within our outlook is gravely warped. People suffer when we are unbalanced by any unpleasantness. It is the unchangeable, ever-reliable word of God (Psalm 119) addressing us in all situations and through all events that delivers us from mood swings and gives us stability. The mind finds a repose in the sovereign purposes and omnipresence of God.
Our mode of Bible reading is meant to determine the mood in which the truth of Scripture is received and then maintain the mood in which we continue after our moments of conscious communion with God has come to its necessary conclusion. We are to ascertain God's perspective, gain his guidance, and receive his resources and resilience for all that providence will bring.
How we regard and open the Bible will affect its influence upon us.
Our commencing suppositions need to be supplanted by the sanctifying starting exercises and expectations of the Holy Spirit. It is his book and it is presumptuous to open it without the preparation of his assistance, illumination, and insight. Reading the Bible begins with deliberate reliance upon the author, prayer for purification, the plea for a tender and teachable heart. Our hubris of intellect and hasty confidence of prior opinion are to be replaced by humility and the willingness to be led wherever the teaching of the Lord takes us. So often we are not reading the Bible at all but looking for a reflection of our own ideas so that they become imbued with "divine authority" as far as others are concerned. The Bible will not endorse our pre-held preferences and prejudices; it is not an instrument for out-arguing others or demonstrating our acumen and acquired knowledge of divinity.
To use it for our power or to our own advantage is to abuse Scripture (just as to use a library in ill-tempered disputation with others is an abuse of it). The Bible enables us to listen to God, think his thoughts after him, shape our conversation with him, and, as its sublime truth seeps its way to the centre of our beings, it miraculously fashions us into beings like him, ultimately speaking his words and working his works through all our speech and action. The Bible is a source of information, influence, and impartation that produces imitation. God makes us new through his word (James 1:18).
In this sense it is not a book of law but the wellspring of spontaneous holy life. Our self-righteous nature produces a legalistic interpretation of Scripture, and legalism is adept at using the Bible, and even surviving from it in parasitical and Pharisaical fashion.
Legalism employs the word with the precision of the letter but without the life and leaning of the Spirit. It encourages the effort of moral obligation without the sense of personal helplessness and consequent personal enabling of grace. It harps on responsibility without the acknowledgment of culpable inability and contrite dependence on God in everything. Legalism hears the commands in death-dealing tones for our infraction (meant to render us helpless), but has no appreciation of the divine compassion (meant to draw the guilty helpless to the Savior). Legalism pronounces "must" without mercy.
Legalism negates the gospel. It can criticize and condemn the sinner but not lead him to restoration through the Redeemer. It has a head for what is right but no heart to understand the mercy of the One who puts us right.
Mercy does not sit light to the law but it lifts us beyond its condemnation and grants increasing delight in the law as a way of life through love of God, not attainment of credit or human acclaim.
Our mood in reading the Bible is to be created by a personal encounter with Jesus. It is to be warmly evangelical through a close intimacy with his tender heart. The Holy Scriptures not only afford truth about the Savior, they extend his touch upon the heart of the humble sinner. Through the witness of Scripture the Savior speaks – directly, authoritatively, earnestly, appealingly, invitingly, correctingly, and warningly, but always with concern and pity for the one he is addressing. The term warmly evangelical is meant to suggest that the mood of God in the message of the Bible is merciful. His righteousness is revealed with clarity. His hatred of sin is unmistakable. His wrath against it is real and ultimately devastating. All these things he forthrightly teaches us for our warning and wellbeing. But the crowning feature and glory of Scripture is the grace of God toward the unworthy and undeserving who find neither help nor hope in anything they can do or become. At every point in Scripture we are faced with our iniquity and inability, but simultaneously we observe the approach of the Savior towards us and cast ourselves into his outstretched arms for safety.
Our mood becomes one of confidence in the Savior and of compassion to those in need of salvation – and that means all without exception.
We may discern the faults of others and detest their sin along with our own, but our plight is common to everyone and universal among all men. For all that we might deplore in others, if we have that right, we hardly differ. Evil is our common plague, the infection of every heart, the pandemic that threatens every soul with eternal death. The world moans, groans, and writhes in the agony of our fatal disease, and as we read Scripture we descry the features of our Physician come to help us (Matt 9:12-13), read his prescription for our healing in his message of atonement wrought on our behalf (Isa 53: 5), and are medicated and nursed by the Spirit who applies the gospel to us. The Bible is warm with the love of God and his ardor for restored fellowship with man. The Bible is evangelical in its intense desire for our return. The mood of mercy in God is a firm and unchangeable resolve which is meant to engender our mood of grateful trust in his goodness and form our firm resolve to run to him as our reliable refuge.
Truth is unchangeable. As it fills the mind and penetrates to the heart in good time, it becomes mood-changing and stimulates and stabilizes right feeling. Instead of being "moody" in a capricious and unpredictable manner we are moved towards maturity in outlook and consistency of conduct. Word and Spirit make us steady in character and steadfast in endurance of all things. The process is not fast or without its pain. But if we are sensitive to the warmth and intent of the Savior's speech in Scripture, lose our suspicion of God or misunderstanding of his Person and purpose, we will sense his kindness in its sifting and severe aspects and be more kindly to others, less cold and critical towards them, more expectant of their sharing in mercy along with us. Our aim, by grace, should be to experience the spiritual power of the word as well as grasp its truth.