Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We Can't Be Faithful To Jesus By Feelings

There are probably some jobs that many of us would not be able to do. It's not that we don't have the intelligence or even physical skills but we lack something of greater importance: faithfulness, dedication and determination. Some jobs require a special breed of people who show up to work in the worst of conditions regardless of how they "feel" about it.

A soldier can't get up in the morning and decide he won't show up for duty because he's too tired or because it's too muddy out. Imagine in Kandahar a soldier deciding it is just too hot to go out on patrol. It is a ridiculous thought. Instead they insure they have all the necessary equipment and supplies to survive the heat and they head out.

Can you imagine a fire fighter hearing the alarm and deciding not to respond because minus 30 degrees Celsius is just too cold? I can't imagine what goes through their minds on such a day but they get ready just as fast as on any other day and rush out the door. It's a tough duty on such a day and no amount of money could make it worth it but for such men and women it has nothing to do with money and everything to do with duty (although a good pay cheque helps).

Even our dear mail carriers have that sense of duty. I have never missed my mail due to a rain storm. There have been some snow storms that have delayed them but those are the days when the entire city can't move. Regardless of the heat, the rain, the cold, the wind, these men and women spend hours making sure we receive our birthday cards, our unpleasant bills, our letters from mom. They don't go by feeling but by duty.

Before his arrest Jesus spent time in prayer talking over the plan with our Father. Three times Jesus asked that, if it was possible, the "cup" would be taken from him but each time he finished with "not my will but yours be done". When the mob came to arrest him Jesus set aside his "feelings" and stepped into his purpose. We can clearly see that he did not want to do this just as there are unpleasant things we do not want to do but we know we must. Just like the fire fighter has to rush out into the freezing night because there are lives that must be saved.

Jesus was not locked into this course of action. He could have asked and our Father would have sent legions of angels to rescue and protect him. He could have just walked away but it was love that kept him true to the course the Father had set before him. Even when Peter, dear wonderful Peter, tried to rush to his defense, a fisherman with sword in hand, Jesus got after him and said:

“Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)

He was sent for this purpose and now that it was at hand was he suppose to refuse it? He couldn't. He came willingly to do our Father's will and it was time to step up.

Perhaps it is hard for us to understand such an approach to life because we have always gone by our feelings. We know what we need to do but we allow how we "feel" to dictate what our actions will be. We are mad at our co-worker because he can be such a jerk so we withhold our kindness. Yet, kindness is not an option for us as followers of Jesus Christ. It is something we are compelled to do by the love of Jesus. We can allow feelings to interfere with that but it is like the fire fighter staying home because it is too cold out.

We can name a number of examples but it all comes down to knowing what we need to do and knowing how we feel. Knowing what you need to do should far outweigh how you feel about it. You may not like it, you may struggle with it, you may have to submit yourself to it as Jesus did, but at the end of the day it is important that we are faithful to the Father's will. His will is not hard to figure out when our life is based on "love God with your entire being" and "love others as yourself". We can't allow circumstances, bad days or feelings to become excuses in our failure to fulfill our purpose. If we allow the love of the Father to be the greatest force in our life it is amazing how easy it is for us to face the most unpleasant moments of our purpose with overwhelming joy. So, let us fix our eyes on the things above and not on this earth, and respond to the call of love regardless of how we feel about the circumstances of our day. To God be the glory!

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