By Rick Warren, December 1, 2017, at: http://www.pastorrick.com
There is a strong belief in our culture that influences every one of us, whether we want it to or not: If it feels good, do it. But when you allow yourself to be manipulated by your moods, you are living your life according to your feelings. God wants you to live a different kind of life. He wants you to live a life of faith, not a life of feelings.
We don’t always feel like doing the right thing. I don’t always feel like being nice to people. I don’t always feel like washing the dishes with my wife. I don’t always feel like stopping what I’m doing to help someone.
But God can give you the kind of faith that persists above feelings.
Anybody who’s successful at anything does things they don’t feel like doing. An Olympic athlete exercises when she doesn’t feel like it. A great musician practices his craft, even when he’s tired. If you’re going to be a great salesperson, you make calls that other people don’t feel like making.
If you want to deepen your relationship with God, you have to spend time with him even when you don’t feel like it. People who have a regular, consistent quiet time with God didn’t get there because every morning they woke up and wanted to spend time with God. They got there because they woke up and spent time reading the Bible and praying even if they were tired or didn’t feel like it.
Faith is being persistent. Faith is refusing to give up no matter how tired you are or how many other things you think you should or wish you could be doing.
The Bible talks about how you can begin to develop persistence in your life through the example of Moses. Hebrews 11:27 says, “It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible” (NLT).
That’s how you get there. That’s how you persist — you begin to see the invisible. Only those who see God for who he really is can persist in the most difficult times of life. Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible. Believe in faith what God can do in your life, and thank him in advance for how he is going to work.
II Corinthians 4:16-18 — Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Hebrews 11:27 — By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
Hebrews 11:13 — All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
O Thou Creator of all things that are, I lift up my heart in gratitude to Thee for this day’s happiness:
For the mere joy of living;
For all the sights and sounds around me;
For the sweet peace of the country and the pleasant bustle of the town;
For all things bright and beautiful and happy;
For friendship and good company;
For work to perform and the skill and strength to perform it;
For a time to play when the day’s work was done, and for health and a glad heart to enjoy it.
Yet let me never think, O eternal Father, that I am here to stay. Let me still remember that I am a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Preserve me by Thy grace, good Lord, from so losing myself in the joys of earth that I may have no longing left for the purer joys of heaven. Let not the happiness of this day become a snare to my too worldly heart. And if, instead of happiness, I have to-day suffered any disappointment or defeat, if there has been any sorrow where I had hoped for joy, or sickness where I had looked for health, give me grace to accept it from Thy hand as a loving reminder that this is not my home.
I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast so set eternity within my heart that no earthly thing can ever satisfy me wholly. I thank Thee that every present joy is so mixed with sadness and unrest as to lead my mind upwards to the contemplation of a more perfect blessedness. And above all I thank Thee for the sure hope and promise of an endless life which Thou hast given me in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
–John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, 1949.