Monday, May 28

I Don't Feel Like It

Read Romans 7:17-25

"I have discovered this principle of life—

that when I want to do what is right, 

I inevitably do what is wrong."

Romans 7:21

Believe it or not, sometimes I do not feel like doing the right thing.

Believe it or not, sometimes I do not feel love and affection for my kids. I feel like yelling and screaming and behaving exactly opposite of what I know is good for them.

Believe it or not, sometimes I do not feel like being a good wife. I feel like being the wife who nags her husband so badly he hides out on the corner of the roof (Proverbs 21:9).

Believe it or not, sometimes I do not want to skip dessert even when I know that I need to lose extra weight. Instead, I want to eat a portion with the family and then make excuses to go through the kitchen 14 more times in the same evening so I can have "just one more bite." And then I'll finish off the rest of the dessert the next day. If questioned, I will blame the missing delicacy on the kids' eager appetites.

Believe it or not, sometimes I do not want to do one more household chore. Let the house fall down around my ears. We'll run out of clean stuff to wear and eat off of and the toilet will probably come alive by the end of the week. But I don't want to do one more thing for my ungrateful family. I will sit on the computer instead and waste time.

Believe it or not, sometimes I do not want to invest in my relationship with God by reading my Bible and praying. It's no problem to think of a dozen other things I would rather do and then I can say, "I don't have time." I will feel far away from God and complain that I don't have strength to get through this hard life.

I fail so often when I follow my feelings. And that brings me to my point. We can't live our lives by what we feel. Our attitudes change with the wind (or is that just me?). Hormones, stress, and even bad weather effect how I feel. Doing the right thing just needs to be done, whether we feel like it or not.

I was listening to a radio call-in show where a woman was seeking advice about her love-less marriage. She complained, "I don't feel love for my husband any more." She was hoping the host would say, "You don't love him? Divorce him!" But instead, the host said to act like she loved her husband, doing all the things she did when she felt love for him, and her feelings would follow.

It's true: we can actually change our attitudes and feelings by our actions. Even the smarty-pants psychology crowd agrees that attitudes are influenced by actions.

"One example of actions affecting attitudes at a superficial level involved a study on people nodding or shaking their heads while listening to a radio broadcast about an increase in tuition: those people nodding their heads agreed with the increase in tuition more than those shaking their heads." (Psypress)

If just moving our heads one way or another can influence our thoughts and attitudes, then maybe we can change a whole lot in our lives by acting according to what we know instead of what we feel.

Paul the Apostle, a super-star evangelist for Christ, had trouble doing the right thing too.

"I have discovered this principle of life—

that when I want to do what is right, 

I inevitably do what is wrong. 

I love God’s law with all my heart. 

But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. 

This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 

Oh, what a miserable person I am! 

Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 

Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 7:21-25 (New Living Translation)

Paul said it best when he exclaimed, "Oh, what a miserable person I am!" If you've felt like me and acted like me in my above descriptions, then you've been miserable like me too. Screaming at my kids, nagging my husband, lacking self-control with my eating, wasting time on meaningless activities instead of keeping my house, and avoiding a deeper relationship with God.... all these things feel terrible. They are the force within me that "is at war with my mind" (vs. 23)

The answer is Jesus Christ our Lord. When our feelings say "do the wrong thing!", we have the power to act in a different way. The right way. We do not have to live a life dominated by sin and actions that lead to ruin. Changing behavior instead of being guided by feelings will in turn give a fulfilling life.

Paul concludes this thought by saying that we do not have to live according to what we feel. We have hope in Jesus Christ.

 "Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, 

you have no obligation to do what 

your sinful nature urges you to do. 

For if you live by its dictates, you will die. 

But if through the power of the Spirit you 

put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, 

you will live. For all who are led by the 

Spirit of God are children of God." 

(Romans 8:12-14)

Written by Alysun P.

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