We’re taught, in today’s world, to seek what makes us happy. To do what we truly love. “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life!” the entrepreneur-coach will promise––and too often we buy into these smiling lies in the pursuit of happiness.
While that may be a small thing that we may simply have to learn as life throws work our way, a real problem begins when we think that our Christianity should work like this. “Choose to love God and serving Him will never feel like work!” With this attitude, we will inevitably find ourselves frustrated and unmotivated when we aren’t “feeling” it. Doubts about our true purpose and passion begin to creep into our mind:
- Shouldn’t what we love never seem like a chore?
- Shouldn’t what we are passionate about never feel like work?
- Shouldn’t we always feel love for Him?
- What does it really— say about me if I’m not “feeling it” right now?
- Can I even really be in love with God if I don’t feel like keeping His commandments, when He said so clearly, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15)?
- Should I even continue to show up if I’m not feeling completely in love?
It’s true, we love Christ, and that is why we do this “job”. Christianity is our occupation––to be more like Christ is our life’s work, goal, and aim––and it should be our number one passion.
“I […] beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called” (Ephesians 4:1)
Yet, while we may be tempted to believe that we must then always enjoy doing as God asks and always be 100% of fire with the idea of doing His will, the truth is (and anyone who has truly pursued a passion of theirs knows the truth): When you work at what you love, sometimes it is going to be hard work.
The thing is, loving God is more about putting Him first always than about how you are currently feeling.
Too often, we get this all backwards: we think that the feeling is what makes us pleasing, more so than what our priorities are. We have a tendency to let our feelings dictate our priorities. I think this attitude is one big reason why we struggle so much with the decision to seek and follow God.
Too often we think, “I don’t *feel* like studying/ praying/ serving/ sacrificing/ loving that person/ keeping “x” commandment, so I won’t.” Perhaps we don’t realize we are thinking this way––we certainly don’t talk this way (at least I hope you don’t!)––but the truth is that your priorities speak more to where your true love and conviction lies than what you say or think that you do.
The problem when we let our feelings guide us and decide whether we are pleasing to God is this: we can’t always control our feelings. Feelings of intense anger, sorrow, and disappointment come our way and we can do nothing to control their coming. What we can control, however, is our daily habit of seeking Him. Do I seek Him in sorrow? In pain? In anger? Do I continue to seek Him despite how I might be tempted to feel about Him? The Bible (especially the Psalms) is full of faithful men and women who sought Him in their darkest times––despite doubts, fears, and depression. God gave inspiration to these outpourings because He wants us to act in the same way.
Be angry, depressed, anxious, doubtful, or fearful and sin not––instead, seek Him. Don’t let the day end without bringing your petitions before Him––and don’t let opportunities pass you and priorities fail because of how you feel. A genuine love for Christ means that we will choose to seek Him above all else––even when we don’t feel like it.
It is choosing to talk to Him first, consulting His will first, and always placing the worship and work involved with seeking Him first that will show more about what we love than any inward jolts of happiness we may feel.
And of course, when we make seeking and serving Him a priority, then we will find ourselves beginning to grow and feel an incredible love for Him. There’s no doubt that a life lived in the light of Christ will result in that––but we must realize that as that love ebbs and flows over our walk of faith, it is our priorities that must remain constant. It is our priorities that show where our true love and allegiance lies.
Love is more about priority than feeling, more about life-time commitment than momentous acts of service, and far more about actions than words. Choosing God first––placing Him before and above everything and everyone else, every day––is what we are called to.
“But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33)
How would your life look different if you lived with this thought in the front of your mind with every decision you made? Perhaps it’s time to see how you can make your life look exactly like that.
I pray that you choose today to commit your heart, mind, soul, and strength to Him––and that you learn to show that He is your number one commitment by making Him your first priority.
Even (and especially) when you don’t feel like it.
Chantelle Marie Swayne