“By default, humans want something palpable, material, and concrete. We want to experience something real, something we can explain with our senses.” I agree with what authors Geoff Gentry and Bryan Ye-Chung wrote in All That Is Made, but do we put too much stock in our physical senses? Feeling good has become an obsession. The number of states legalizing marijuana. Anti-depressants prescribed like candy. Folks, like myself, who are weary of one more day of a depressing long winter.
Life is hard for those who do the right thing and for those who don’t. Idols are offered as a way of providing that “feel-good” feeling. But it’s fleeting, and it has to be filled up again and again.
After a while, an addiction is established. But we don’t “feel good” about that either. The vicious cycle continues and we’re stuck on a merry-go-round that we created.
One of the challenging parts of daily life is the dullness we experience sometimes, which can lead to all sorts of problems if we allow it. The drabness of schedules. The boring responsibilities. The exhausting commitments. The endless work. The demanding quotas and metrics. Our doldrums can tempt us to put more credence in feeling good than doing the right thing.
However, discipline is the elixir of the Christian life. Not the discipline of robotic church activity, or lifeless busyness. God wants our heart and He wants our motives to be pure as we live out what we say we believe on the inside.
From the classic My Utmost For His Highest, the late Oswald Chambers wrote in 1935, “The test of a man’s religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting on.”
One of the verses I previously didn’t understand and shied away from is “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12b, NIV)
After open heart surgery, I still have to increase my heart rate four or five times a week. I accomplish that on a treadmill. The hardest part is making the decision to put on my Adidas shoes and drive to Planet Fitness. After I step off the treadmill where I walked fast for 40 minutes, I feel better than I did before I exercised. I worked my body out. If I just held to the belief that I needed to exercise, but didn’t act on it, then I wouldn’t have worked out what I believed on the inside.
That’s what Paul is saying in his book Philippians. No, we can’t earn our salvation. Jesus took care of that with his blood. But if we asked Him to come into our heart and lives, then we need to work Him out in the real world, so people on the outside can see the light that is inside us.
Are you prone to work Jesus out in your life only when you “feel” like it?