Sometimes I don’t feel like living out my faith. There are times, I don’t want to forgive. I don’t want to be nice. I want revenge, plain and simple. During these times, it’s benefitted me to remember that just because I don’t FEEL like living out my faith, I need to do it anyway.
“Move along chasing God even when you don’t feel like it,” said Jeremy Risner, pastor of C2 Church, Columbia. “Faith leads to feelings. It’s not necessarily feelings that lead to faith.”
One specific time when my feelings did not demonstrate my faith happened many years ago. I had been deeply hurt by what I saw as a huge injustice with a not-for-profit organization. It involved some work I was doing for them for pay. I didn’t have a contract, but I had an understanding before a witness. They didn’t remember it that way. This involved what, at the time, was a substantial amount of money.
I wanted to take them to court. I wanted to scream and shout. I wanted to do a lot of things to retaliate. In actuality that would not have helped the situation. Plus, it would have been my word and that of my witness against their word and that of their witness.
I was in that spiral. I was in that rut. Day after day I thought of new schemes I could do to get even with them. My feelings were in a jumble and sending me into daily despair. I did not feel like living out my faith. I even questioned if I wanted to have faith any more.
Still, I’m a journalist. Couldn’t I write an article for the local newspaper and let everyone know what liars and cheats they really were? I mean wouldn’t I be helping God out by revealing their true colors?
I asked this question of my father, who was a strong Godly man. Instead of answering the question, he gave me an assignment. He told me to read the book of Proverbs and note every place the verbiage: mouth, speech, words, tongue, lips or anything similar are used. He said I’d find my answer there.
I really didn’t feel like doing this. These people had wronged me and I wanted them to pay. At the very least, I wanted God to zap them.
Because I love my dad and I wanted the situation resolved somehow, I did what he suggested. I was shocked how much Proverbs has to say about words. I had read the Bible through several times, but this time I was searching for answers to a very specific issue.
I discovered what has become one of my favorite scriptures during time of study. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver,” Proverbs 25:11, NKJV.
What I wanted to do was not a word fitly spoken, but a word spoken in a fit. Any word I spoke or wrote about the situation would not be apples of gold, but rotten apples. They wouldn’t be in settings of silver, but thrown in a pail of stinking garbage.
The revelation made me realize several things. One over-arching thing was we don’t always FEEL like living out our faith, but as Christians we are CALLED to do it anyway.
“We are called to walk according to scripture so much that it becomes a part of who we are,“ said Risner. “Do I act according to how I feel or according to scripture? I must choose to do it anyway until I feel it. When begin to feel it when the truth of scripture is revealed.”
I love the fact that my father didn’t tell me what the scripture said and what I should do, but had me discover the truth on my own. Truth is revealed as we see it become real right before our eyes.
In my case, I knew the answer was to pray for them and withdraw from the situation. I left. I didn’t leave angrily, but I left without giving them the work they didn’t pay for. I left quite a bit wiser.
I also realized I needed to forgive them and let the offense go. I believe one day they will answer for it, but I pray for them to understand what they did and be blessed anyway. That’s what scripture says to do.
I didn’t feel like I had let the offense go when I first began praying about it. I knew it was what God’s word said to do and so I did. I prayed it enough through the years that it is truly what I want now. I have not allowed that issue to become a grudge that I carry getting heavier and heavier until it is so heavy I can no longer move.
God’s word is it is true and brings freedom no matter if we believe it or not or feel like we want to believe it or not.
Walking out our faith doesn’t always start with what we feel like doing, but as we keep walking our feelings have no choice but to fall in line.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 List the feelings associated with this list.
2 Timothy 3:7 Why can these people never come to the knowledge of truth?
2 Timothy 3:14-17 How does the process outlined in these verses work?
Romans 12:1 How can Godly character and habit become part of our reality?
1 Timothy 4:1 In what ways does the world defend behaviors contrary to the Word of God?
1 Timothy 4:7-11 How can we train ourselves to be spiritual?
1 Timothy 4:12-13 How can you be an example no matter what age you are?
1 Timothy 4:14-17 What are the things we should do in order to be used by God?