Hey friends, how are you doing? How was weekend? There was a time, when I looked forward to my weekend; I suppose I still do, to some extent. Lately, my weekends have been a bit busier than I appreciate, perhaps it’s due to the two college girls who live with us. There are lots of ‘discussions’ that take place in our home, especially in light of the recent upheavals in our country and take up way too much time. Have I told you before I’m a task-oriented person? This pandemic has made it very easy to slip back into my ‘get these done’ mentality. Now that our economy is on a timeline to gradual reopening, my attitude needs some realignment or an adjustment. We need people to be ‘people oriented’ don’t we? Actually, people are a necessary component to build almost every godly character. In order to exercise love, patience, goodness, mercy, forgiveness, we need people in our lives. In my defense, He’s still working on me.
When I was younger, I believed that the Lord would bless only the things I do willingly. If I did not feel like doing something, then I should not do it, because after all the Lord knows my heart. He knew I did not want, nor did I feel like doing, what ever it was that I should be doing. Should I obey if I don’t feel like it? Are my feelings required in obedience?
There is a beautiful story in the Bible about a man called Jonah. It is the 32nd book of the Old Testament and there are only three chapters. At our church, our pastor has actually begun a study on Jonah. The Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn the citizens of impending judgment. But Jonah didn’t want to. As far as he was concerned, the people deserved God’s punishment. Read the story. It is really a beautiful story of a man’s disobedience and God’s amazing grace. When feelings and obedience align, there is this instant gratification. “Yes! We can do this, Lord!” But when there is that tug of war between my feelings and obedience? Which one wins? Which will get the victory?
Truthfully, obedience will triumph, when my life is in accordance with the Word of God. What do we do with obedience to the Word of God when we don’t feel like it?
You asked me to love, but indifferent is how I feel (I John 4:11)
You asked me to forgive, but bitter is how I feel (Colossians 3:13)
You said, ‘have faith’, but anxious is how I feel (James 1:6)
You said to be content, but jealous is how I feel (Hebrews 13:5)
You said to be kind, but violent is how I feel (Ephesians 4:32)
You said to be cheerful, but angry is how I feel (Psalm 68:3)
You said to be patient, but frustrated is how I feel (Galatians 5:22)
You said to be gentle, but spiteful is how I feel (Galatians 5:23)
Should I then acknowledge my feelings and go with it? Or should I apply self control and intentionally choose to obey the Word of God? Should I surrender to my feelings and give it control? Should I do what I feel and then plead for grace? Should I submit to God’s authority and rather, beg for strength? Should I wait for my feelings to catch up with obedience? What shall I choose to do today? Should I obey in spite of how I feel? What will you choose today?
Sometimes, I like my feelings, sometimes I justify my feelings, sometimes I feel I have a right to my feelings (and I do usually) but when I give these feelings the option to control my actions, then I’ve gone against the precepts set for me as a Christian, in the Word of God. The word of God did not give me suggestions or room to negotiate. My feelings should take secondary place when they go against the Word of God. I am entitled to my feelings, but I can take these feelings to the Lord. I can tell Him exactly what I feel, why I have these feelings, perhaps even why I should keep and act according to these feelings.
Our God is always open to dialogue. Dialogue is good, but because our God is holy and righteous, He reminds me that He has even more reasons to be angry and impatient, and vengeful than I do. He reminds me that if He can love me, surely, I love them (in spite of how I feel. He says safety is found in Him, rest is found in His arms, beauty is found in obedience. He says His Word is final and forgiveness is free.
Most times our feelings are deceitful, at times, they do not tell the true story of a situation. When we adhere to those feelings, inevitably sin is not far behind. Will you allow these feelings to be the ‘death’ of you?