What do you do when you don’t want to do what you should do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Biblically, we all know no one lives life on the mountain always. There will be times of trouble and sorrow. Bluntly, my mood isn’t the best right now. I woke up this morning not really wanting to do anything and there are times then the apologetics ministry becomes a burden. You see, I normally love doing what I do, but there can be times you wish you could go without having to interact with the rest of the world. There are times you wish that the skeptics weren’t there that you had to answer. There are times you wish that you could push the pause button and put everything else on hold. Yet I get up this morning and not too long after waking up, what do I find myself doing? Apologetics.
Note, this can happen even when you’re not really happy with what God is doing in your life. I think too often we go and put on our best church faces because Christians are always to be people of happiness who don’t have problems. Don’t know what Bible you’re reading, but the one I read seems to say a lot to people who have a lot of problems. We live in a world where everyone puts on a face which means we really don’t discuss the problems we have going on. It’s a wonder so many of us can look to study the problem of evil and how to deal with it and try to live our lives as if evil isn’t a reality.
But evil is a reality and we all know of times when it looks like the universe is not working the way we think it should. It is often thought that when God seems silent, the real pain is wondering if He’s even there. I disagree with this entirely. For those of us who know He is there, the real pain is that we know He’s there and He doesn’t seem to be doing anything. The pain is that we know that this is in fact what is good for us at the time and we best learn to grow from it somehow. There are times that quite frankly, the goodness of God is something that is awful.
So here you are and you are one who says He is a servant of Christ and you know your duty and yet there is nothing inside of you that is prompting you to do it really. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. What do you do in this case?
You do your duty.
Our culture has become so feeling-oriented that we look at our world through the lenses of our experience and feelings first. Unfortunately, the hard struggle for us is the Bible doesn’t make many allowances for us. There is nothing that says “Love your neighbor as yourself, unless your neighbor is being a jerk and then you have a pass.” “Pray for your enemies, unless they do this specific evil to you and then you can pray for fire and brimstone to fall on them instead.” “Love your wife or respect your husband, except for those times that they quite frankly are getting on your nerves and then you have an exception.” Imagine how far we can go with this. Rejoice in all things. Pray without ceasing. Study to show yourself approved. Do the work of an evangelist. This is the way, walk you in it.”
Yeah. Go through the book and see all the exception clauses you can find. There’s a story supposedly told that when a famous atheist was dying, a friend of him was surprised to come to see him on his deathbed and find him reading the Bible. When the friend asked the atheist what he was doing he got the reply of “Looking for loopholes.”
We laugh, but we all are looking for loopholes or living like they should be there. “Oh I know Biblically that I should save sex for marriage, but I really love her and we’re going to get married anyway.” “Oh I know Biblically that I should give to the poor, but there’s this item on sale that I really want this week.” “Oh I know Biblically that I am to be loving of my neighbor, but do you have any idea what the jerk did to me?” “Oh I know Biblically that I am to pray, but God is really silent so if He doesn’t care about me why should I care about Him?”
I think we’ve all made statements like this before.
And you know, this all gets harder in light of James 4:17.
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
We have this strange idea that we should do what we feel like doing or don’t feel like doing and get away with zero consequences. We fail to realize that every action we do, big or small, is building up a character, and not just in us, but in everyone around us who we interact with. We do not stop to ask what kind of person we are becoming. We all tend to think we’re the exception to the rule and that reality will treat us differently.
Reality is what it is and we Christians are called to live in accordance with the truth. If we start making exceptions for us, don’t be surprised if the rest of the world starts to think there are exceptions for them too.
So what is it that we are supposed to do on those days when we don’t desire to do what we ought? What are we to do when our every feeling and desire in us is telling us to not do something?
We are to do the right thing.
This is the way of the cross. This is taking it up and following Him. This is dying to our self and knocking ourselves off the throne of God and realizing that we are to live in accordance with what our master teaches and if it doesn’t seem to make sense at the time, we are to still realize that He knows best. If we have to do it while inwardly we are kicking and screaming and gritting our teeth in frustration, well we do it anyway. If we often wait until we feel like serving Jesus or doing anything that He has told us to do, then it is quite likely that we will never do what we ought.
Do you not like that?
Well quite honestly, neither do I.
But reality is not about what I like. Reality is about what is. The truth is Jesus is my Lord and I am to follow Him regardless.
He knows best after all.