Many times I think we have the tendency to avoid personal discipline in our lives because we see it as a kind of legalism. And it’s true, in a ideal situation, we would always wake up in the morning hungry to read the Word of God. We would excitedly thumb through our Scripture memory cards in anticipation of adding a new Scripture to our minds. We would happily order our lives, and we would do so because we “feel” like it.
After all, aren’t we supposed to love God? And isn’t the emotive quality of love very important? The answer is yes to that question, but we don’t live in a world if ideals.
The truth is that most mornings, I don’t feel like getting out of bed, so I don’t. I don’t feel like memorizing Scripture so I don’t. I feel I’d like to indulge in sin so I do. If I waited to feel like doing all this stuff. I’d never do anything, or I’d always do everything.
But how do you do those things without becoming a legalist? We know we need to do them, regardless of how we feel, but it’s so easy to slip into the pattern where we hold up our personal discipline as a score card for God.
Faith is how you choose good and discipline without becoming a legalist. We must choose for faith to trump our feelings. We read even when we don’t feel like because we choose to believe God will speak to us. We obey even when we don’t feel like it because we believe that the pleasures of God are better than the pleasures of earth. We believe that God, in His faithfulness, will bring along our feelings. So we act in faith.
When we act in faith, we are trusting rather than achieving. We are humble rather than proud. We are acknowledging our weakness and trusting our feelings to follow. In this, we make little of ourselves and much of God.
So maybe – just maybe – I will get out of bed in the morning. Not because I feel like it, cause I won’t. But I’ll swing out my legs in faith, trusting that God will bring along what I lack in time.