People think I’m crazy when I tell them I wake up between 4:30 and 5am every weekday morning (and most weekends too). My regular routine once I’m up consists of about an hour of quiet time, going to the gym for another hour/hour and a half, and then getting ready for work.
I don’t think I’m crazy at all! To be clear, I don’t LIKE waking up at 4:30 every morning. I have a very comfortable bed, and I would spend the whole day sleeping in it if I could. I don’t always LIKE going to the gym, and many days I have to drag myself out of bed to make it. I don’t always FEEL like praying or reading my Bible.
But you know what? I do it because I understand that what I like or don’t like can often be inconsequential to what is good for me. I do this because I have discovered that if I do not have my quiet time or work out first thing in the morning, the chances of them happening reduce exponentially as the day goes on lol. I do it because I understand how important my time with God is for my day and my spiritual health, and how important exercise is for my physical health. I do it because I know that if I consistently just went with how I felt at all times and became a slave to my emotions and preferences, I’d probably sleep through my alarm every day and live a generally very miserable life.
On a similar train of thought, we aren’t always going to like the things God asks us to do or asks of us. I could give you at least (and I mean ‘at least’ lol) two dozen times God asked me to do something and I responded with a groan or I didn’t do it altogether because I either didn’t feel like it or didn’t like the instructions He gave me. A lot of times I just thought I had a better plan. But at some point I recognized that feelings are just that – feelings, and they can be deceitful and manipulative, and often have no real bearing in truth.
You will not always like the things that are good for you, and the things that are right will not always feel good. Relying on feelings and not obedience can lead you away from the promises and good will of God.
Take the story of the people of Judah in Jeremiah 40-42:
The Babylonians have destroyed Jerusalem because of their disobedience against God, leaving only a few Judeans behind to mourn and lament in the rubble. The governor appointed by the Babylonian King is killed in a coup attempt, and now suddenly the remnants are in fear for their lives because they know that the King of Babylon will bury what’s left of them and their home should he catch wind of the assassination.
Luckily for them, there was still a priest living among them: Jeremiah.
So everyone lefts gathers outside Jeremiah’s house and begs him to pray and ask God what they should do:
They said to him, “Please grant our request and pray to the Lord your God for all those of us who are still left alive here. For, as you yourself can see, there are only a few of us left out of the many there were before. Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” The prophet Jeremiah answered them, “Agreed! I will indeed pray to the Lord your God as you have asked. I will tell you everything the Lord replies in response to you. I will not keep anything back from you.” They answered Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not do just as the Lord sends you to tell us to do. We will obey what the Lord our God to whom we are sending you tells us to do. It does not matter whether we like what he tells us or not. We will obey what he tells us to do so that things will go well for us.”
“It doesn’t matter if we like what He has to say or not.”
The people understood that their feelings were inconsequential – what was important was their understanding that the only person who could get them to where they needed to be and keep them safe was God. They understood that if they wanted things to go well for them, they would have to obey regardless of how they felt about the instructions.
Or at least they THOUGHT they understood because a couple chapters later they disobey God’s instructions to stay put in Judea and flee to Egypt in fear and start worshipping other gods and God punishes them. lol
Something to meditate on for the rest of the week: Are you willing to do what God asks you to do even when you don’t like His instructions? Even when you don’t feel like it? Even when His instructions don’t seem to make any sense? Do you trust the Creator of the Universe wants you to succeed and won’t steer you wrong?