Today’s question is a two-parter. Much thanks to Tiesha for the questions!
Part one: What do you mean when you say that emotions are at the root of obedience?
Tiesha is referring to a previous post where I shared that I had once held the view that we should just obey, regardless of how we feel. I didn’t realize that this is a complete paradox. At the root of all of the commandments is a heart that loves God and loves people. You cannot obey God without a certain heart. On top of that, there are multiple examples where specific feelings are commanded.
God calls us to move out of faith. If our actions are rooted in something other than that, we are actually in sin. Eek. Yup, that’s what the bible says. You and I could do everything right on paper and still be in sin because our heart motivation is not faith. (Romans 14:23)
Part two: Do you ever worry about not acting at all because you’re waiting for your heart to catch up?
So, what do you and I do when our hearts aren’t in the right spot? Do we still ‘act’ in obedience, or not?? If I wake up and don’t want to read my bible I have a couple of options:
- Don’t read it because my motives aren’t right.
- Read the bible out of guilt or obligation.
- Trust God to be faithful to His promises even though my heart is jacked. Believe Him when He says that the Word has a faith bringing power, (Romans 10:17). Believe that eating His words will result in me delighting in His words (Jeremiah 15:16). Even if I don’t feel that way, I can still believe it is true. And then, weirdly – even though my heart is so ugly, in that moment I’m acting in faith!
Even when your heart is in a bad spot, you can still move in obedience because you believe that God will use that obedience to soften your heart. You’ll still be moving in faith. When I don’t ‘feel’ like obeying, I repent for a heart that isn’t conformed to His will, and then I beg Him for a heart that feels rightly about the truth. I beg for a heart that will be inclined to His commandments instead of worthless things (Psalm 119:36-37). I confess that He alone has the power to change my heart.
Then, I move forward, trusting what I know is true. I trust that God’s way is best. I trust that His commands are the key to deep and abiding joy. I trust that He knows me better than I know myself and He alone knows what will bring my emotions in line.
Great questions, guys! Keep ’em coming!