In Brother Lawrence’s book, “The Practice of the Presence of God”, he writes:
“…if we are truly devoted to doing God’s will, pain and pleasure won’t make any difference to us. We also need to be faithful, even in dry periods. It is during those dry spells that God tests our love for Him. We should take advantage of those times to practice our determination and our surrender to Him. This will often bring us to a maturity further on in our walk with God.”
There is SO much in these few sentences! I had to read that first sentence several times. Read it with me again, “…if we are truly devoted to doing God’s will, pain and pleasure won’t make any difference to us.” What does that mean? Well, to me it means that I cannot let my feelings determine where I go or what I do. I cannot let how I feel about a situation change how I act within a situation. I must trust only the truth of God’s Word – the faithfulness of His character and the sovereignty of His plan!
It’s taken me many years to learn this, but I finally understand that we have the ability as humans to act in a way that is different than the way we feel. True story. We have the ability. We do. Our feelings do not have to determine our actions, our words or even our reactions to other people. We are able to adjust. It does, however, take intentionality. We get to choose how we act/react in any situation. But we must choose. Otherwise our feelings will choose for us.
“We also need to be faithful, even in dry periods. It is during those dry spells that God tests our love for Him. We should take advantage of those times to practice our determination and our surrender to Him. This will often bring us to a maturity further on in our walk with God.”
Have you ever gone through a time in your life (or are you in one right now) where you are having a hard time discerning God’s voice and His will for your life? Or maybe you’re not understanding why God has you in a certain place, a certain ministry, a certain situation? Oh my goodness gracious, I have! Many times. We’ve ALL been there. In fact, while leading worship a few weeks back I felt God urging me to confess that I sometimes I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I don’t always know God’s will. I don’t always hear his voice. I sometimes have no clue what to do or where to go in life. I think Brother Lawrence has some beautiful advice for us for those times. “We should take advantage of those times to practice our determination and our surrender to Him!”
I once heard Beth Moore say that if you’re having a hard time believing God, then you should ACT like someone who believes. I think the same holds true here. We must be determined to surrender to God – it won’t simply happen. It’s an act of the will. Deciding to follow when we don’t feel like it, or trust when we’re not sure we’re believing it, or worship when we simply don’t want to is not something we should do – but something we MUST do. In choosing to behave more like one of God’s chosen – we will begin to more fully understand what it actually means to follow. In choosing to try harder to discern the voice and will of God, we will begin to get better at getting still and actually listening. Sometimes God chooses to be quiet so that we will lean in closer. In choosing to intentionally act in a way that is contrary to our feelings, we show the people around us (and especially ourselves) that we are strong enough to do what’s right even when it’s hard. As Glennon Doyle Melton would say, “We can do hard things!”
Let’s choose today to practice our determination and our surrender to the Father. Let’s act like people who love Jesus. Let’s not let our feelings determine our actions.
I will if you will. I’m rooting for us!