I was recently faced with a dilemma. I needed to do something that I knew would not feel good in the emotional realm, but was still a command of Scripture. Doing what is right in spite of how we feel can be the biggest challenge facing us as Christians. Of course everyone faces this challenge, but for the believer in Christ it seems to be a particular struggle.
We have two natures at war within us every moment of the day! Scripture says they fight with each other –
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.Galatians 5:17 (NASB)
The choice to obey or disobey is presented in what we are called to do and the attitude that we bring to obedience. If you are at all like me, you have an easier time doing what is right with a bad attitude than doing what is right with a submissive and obedient attitude before the Lord. My pesky feelings always get in the way of righteousness!
In a way, I enjoy this battle within myself because it reminds me of my never ending need for Him and for the cross. The reminder of the Holy Spirit that I experience by the gentle tug at my heart is welcomed in my life. This reminder sets my eyes on Christ, who I am in Him, and what is required of me as a follower of His.
I often engage in this battle of obedience, and more so as the changes in my life grow closer to being reality. I have no doubt that each of these temptations are intentional and purposeful. They are allowed by our wonderful and holy God. I admit, like everyone else, I can fight these changes to my inner man. But because my hearts desire is to serve God by teaching the Word, counseling, instructing in righteousness, and helping others grow and change, I submit and obey.
It doesn’t feel good at all. And yet, I am called to obey and to do so with the attitude of a servant. I am a servant of the most powerful King the world has ever known. He is my Lord and Master, and I am His loving servant.
Doing what is right when I don’t want to requires keeping this thought at the forefront of my thoughts: It is the chief end of man to glorify God. Obeying God will glorify Him, and God will continue to use me wherever He plants me in the lives of the people that surround me!
Do I know who I will influence for Christ? Do I know whose life I will impact? Do I know the spiritual condition of the people I will see every day? Of course not! God does, and it is His will that I go forth in faith and submissive obedience to Him.
You will see the results of my obedience continue to be reflected in this blog… and I am sure there will be further adventures in sanctification. I hope by my example others will follow in heart felt obedience, in spite of how they feel. Today, ask yourself the same question – am I faithfully obeying God over what I might feel?