I can recall many days a few months ago when I wasn’t in the mood to read my bible or spend my usual morning time with God. Typically my morning routine consists of me listening to worship music as I get ready for work, reading my bible for 5-15 minutes before making breakfast, and finally praying during my morning commute. But that week I wasn’t feeling it.
Doesn’t that sound terrible?
I don’t believe I’m not the only one who’s struggled with this feeling (though it may not be a popular thing to admit). All I desired to do was watch re-runs of Gilmore Girls while I primped and prepared for the day. Though it’s a wonderful show it shouldn’t win my affections over spending time with the Creator and lover of my soul.
As I sat on my bed in silence I thought to myself, “This is terrible. How can I feel this way? God has been so good to me and I love spending time with Him.” Then He spoke to me and reminded me that His love for me isn’t dependent on me. He doesn’t love me any less when I don’t spend time with Him. This is true for you too.
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But the question remains – What do we do in these scenarios? The answer – We wage war. We decide in our minds and hearts to worship and praise, to read His Word, and seek His face in spite of our mood.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ – 2 Cor. 10:3-5
How do we do this? Pray.
Foremost, acknowledge in prayer to God what you are feeling (and be honest). He knows your every thought (Psalm 139:4) so this won’t come as a surprise to Him. Ask for what you need: an increased love for Him, and strength to overcome these feelings. We can do nothing for Him part from him, and He is faithful to give to those who ask.
Act Intentionally – Praise and worship are sometimes emotional, but they should always be intentional.
God will empower us to overcome, but we still have to do our part. The enemy will target your feelings and attack your thoughts. He will tell you to lie after lie – that God does not love you because of your inconsistency or that you can’t overcome this feeling – but don’t fall for it!
Ephesians chapter 6 describes the armor of God and illustrates how we, as believers, stand against any force that opposes Christ. Verse 17 says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Our only weapon of offense in spiritual warfare is the Word of God. It is stronger than any double-edged sword and can divide soul (our thoughts and feelings) and spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Let God’s Word guard your thoughts and guide your actions. Remind yourself of who God is – good, faithful, loving, perfect – and of all of His promises. Praise and worship are sometimes emotional, but they should always be intentional.
Let the Spirit Lead you
Instead of telling you exactly what to do next, I want to encourage you to let the Holy Spirit guide you. He will advise what you need to do to re-focus your affections: meditate on a specific verse, disconnect from social media for a day or week, embark on a fast, or re-prioritize your time and commitments, etc… Remember, worship is not one particular action but a mindset and lifestyle. We may have different obstacles and sins distracting and tempting us, but our goal is the same.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2
That morning I recited the beginning of Psalm 103 over and over again. “Praise the Lord oh my soul, and all that is within me praise His Holy name”. I declared that I will worship Him regardless of how I felt. I’m not going to tell you that I felt different immediately because I didn’t. Eventually, I did, but that’s not the point.
The point is this – real love is not simply a feeling but an action. We love because He first loved us. And since we love Him we must resolve not to settle for a life led only by feelings. Instead, because of our love, we will seek discipline to fight against feelings ( and anything else) that attempts to pull our devotion away from our Savior.