Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Feelings Follow Obedience

I think there are some times in life we just have to make the choice to obey first, and then our feelings will “catch up.” If we try to wait on our feelings first before we do what we know is right, that may not ever happen. And the Bible says when we know what is right and don’t do it, that is sin.

“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” –James 4:17

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I’ve heard people teach that partial obedience or delayed obedience is the same thing as disobedience.  My initial reaction is to argue that or get defensive about it, but when you think about some practical examples, it helps you understand how that is truth. I know with my kiddos for example, I want them to obey immediately. This is not a power trip thing….it’s about THEIR protection. If I ask one of my boys to put his shoes on so we can leave and it takes him 10 minutes and me asking him 3 different times, that sounds like no big deal, right? It’s not life or death. But what if we are on the sidewalk in the front yard and he starts running after a ball into the street? If I yell at him to stop, he must stop immediately! We don’t have time to wait around for 10 minutes and for me to tell him 3 times. It IS life or death if a car is speeding by. Sometimes we don’t consider that, but there is no way to teach a young child that there are times delayed or partial obedience are okay and times it’s not. We have to teach them to obey immediately, every time….and that means we must live that out in our own lives. I know our Heavenly Father doesn’t expect any less from us, and we have to trust that our obedience will ultimately lead to our protection.

I can think of many people whose lives have been ruined because of ONE bad choice, can’t you? One choice to disobey can lead to “death,” both figurative and literal.

Anyway, I was thinking about a few (less serious) examples of times I have had to choose to just do it, and eventually the feelings started catching up. This is encouraging me to step out in other areas, when I know I should (or shouldn’t) be doing something, to be obedient in that area. Without questioning, delaying, or hesitating…

So here are the examples.

*Cooking. I did not know how to cook when I went off to college. I lived off of cereal, salad, frozen veggies, sandwiches, and burnt fish/chicken on the Foreman grill (lol! I’m sure my roommates loved me for that!). I remember my friend Beth telling me how to brown meat because I didn’t know. Seriously…it was bad. And because of that, I didn’t like cooking. Or at least, that’s what I told myself. When I got married, I knew that I was the “nutritional gatekeeper” of our home, and I wanted to eat/feed our family healthy and nutritious homemade meals. That meant I was going to have to learn to cook. So even though I didn’t really want to, and I didn’t really enjoy it (at first), I started cooking. I became a student. I looked up recipes, practiced, made a few #epicfails in the kitchen. But eventually I got better! And I even started to enjoy it. My feelings followed my obedience, and now I love to cook and can be found spending lots of time in the kitchen every day. (I wrote a blog post about this a while back.)

*Exercising. I have always been active and love to work out! But have you ever taken some time off for any reason? Or started a new-to-you workout regimen? At first, it can be pretty miserable. Let’s be honest…it is NOT fun getting back in it when you’re not in shape. But over time, you get better, get stronger, recover faster, have more endurance, and it gets easier. It gets more enjoyable. (And then you can push yourself harder!) I know being active helps me be as healthy as possible (*sitting is the new smoking*), so I do it…even when I don’t feel like it. I always feel better afterwards. So again, those feelings follow obedience.

*Forgiving someone. Whew! This one is a hard one. There have been a few times I’ve had to make the choice (and still have to make the choice- unfortunately it’s not always a once a done) to forgive someone. To forgive someone who didn’t deserve it, or didn’t even ask for my forgiveness for that matter. But when I forgive that person, I feel better. It allows me to let go of anger, hurt, bitterness, and resentment…which means I can replace those feelings with JOY, peace, happiness, & love. It feels really good to be able to forgive and even love (in a Christlike way) those who have hurt you (even if there isn’t a relationship). Your feelings follow the obedience.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. –Luke 6:27-28

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”- john 14:23

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. –Deut 28:1

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. –Deut 5:33

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

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