Sometimes, I don’t feel like following His footprints. In my heart and mind I want to follow, but occasionally I feel tired, overwhelmed or impatient. My motivation for following fails. Then a small whisper reminds me- following is about faith and obedience, not feelings.
Teaching children recently about how Jesus hung out on Earth after His resurrection for 40 days was a great example of this. The disciples were hangin’ with the Risen Savior, soaking up His knowledge like sponges. Then He left. Ascending to heaven, Jesus told them to wait for the Holy Spirit then spread His good news to the world. The disciples stood there gazing up at the cloud where He disappeared. Acts 1:3-11
They must have felt a little abandoned and confused yet eager and excited at the same time. But they did as Jesus instructed. They waited…10 days. It’s difficult for me to wait a few minutes, let alone days, weeks or years. But soon, the rush of the Holy Spirit was upon them and they were sharing Jesus’ message in many languages with people from all over the world!
Just like the disciples, we too have the Holy Spirit living within us. The Spirit guides, directs and gives us the ability to also share about Jesus, often just by the way we live each day. But alas, this is where at times my motivation runs low.
Some days I feel tired, unappreciated and selfish. I don’t feel like being patient, helpful or a servant to others. But then the Spirit reminds me of Jesus. He lowered Himself to Earth, bore all my sins, died and rose again so I could live forever. In the midst of all that, Jesus didn’t follow his feelings.
He followed His Father.
Lack of motivation, impatience, and selfishness are all feelings. The disciples pushed past their feelings after Jesus’ ascension and began His church on Earth. Even though they may have not felt like it, the disciples understood their job was to have faith and obey. Understanding this in my own daily walk with Jesus has been crucial. This knowledge to obey my Savior and not my feelings strengthens me when those feelings want to take control.
Sunday mornings when I don’t feel like going to church but attend by obedience are invariably the days I gain the most from worship. It’s as though God is saying-“see, just follow me. Don’t think too much, feel like you have to be ready, experienced or in the right frame of mind. Just have faith, obey and follow me.”
We are all called to shine our lights and point others to Jesus. We don’t do this of our own power any more than the disciples did after Jesus’ ascension. We do this by the power that lives within us. God sent the Holy Spirit to all of us, and we can do anything through Christ who strengthens us.
Shifting the focus off of my feelings and onto my Savior is the key. As Isaiah puts it: when I trust in Him, I will find new strength, soar high on wings like eagles and not grow weary. When I follow in faith and obedience, His light can shine through me. His Spirit reminds me when I feel weary, worn out or overwhelmed: just have faith, listen and obey.
You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. ~Galatians 6:7b-10