09 Feb Your Actions Will Positively Affect Your Feelings
In this article, based upon chapter 39 in my book Free Your Mind, we will discuss taking actions as a way of overcoming negative or uncooperative feelings. First, take a look at a few verses that show us how our actions are linked to our thoughts and emotions:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action.” (1 Peter 1:13)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9, emphasis added)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-8, emphasis added)
In Philippians 4 Paul calls upon us to think about whatever is right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or worthy of praise. But what does he say next? He says we are to put what we learn into practice. Brothers and sisters, thinking and action go hand in hand! When we think right and then act right, our lives will be blessed! Godly thinking, followed by action, brings our emotions and lives into a greater place of peace and joy. We can’t just sit around pondering deep truths or examining our feelings—we also need to take action.
The night Jesus was arrested, he had a lot of intense feelings. But Jesus didn’t just sit around, lost in his feelings—he did something about them:
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:36-39)
Here we see Jesus taking several important actions in the midst of difficult emotions: He went out to pray, and he took friends along to support him in his trial. As Jesus faced the cross, he asked God to help him have the courage and surrender he needed to move forward. Like Jesus, we too need to take action when we are struggling with our feelings. Like Jesus, we may need to pray, seek the support of friends, or make decisions to surrender ourselves (and our feelings) to the will of God.
Jesus went to the cross because he loved God—and loved us. One of the greatest challenges we all face is showing love to others even when we aren’t feeling intense love at the moment. Jesus did not feel like going to the cross, but he went anyway. Like Jesus, we also need to take steps forward and do the right thing even when our feelings aren’t quite where we want them to be. We need to act on a decision and commitment of love, regardless of how we may feel in that particular moment.
Our feelings can be unruly, and they don’t always cooperate with us—but God still calls us to a life of obedience and love. He doesn’t say, “You should only obey me and love others when you feel like it”—no, he calls us to act regardless of our feelings. However, I have found that the more I obey God, and the more I choose to act in love, the more my feelings begin to catch up to my actions. As I act in loving ways, I begin to feel more love in my heart.
Let us imitate the example of our brother Paul who, knowing he had not fully obtained all that God wanted for him, decided to press on and keep growing:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)
Brothers and sisters, let’s press on—on into more growth, greater surrender, and more love. Let us learn to act in accordance with God’s will even when our emotions aren’t where we want them to be. We can choose to follow God’s will, confident that our feelings and moods will eventually catch up to our actions. And that’s something we can all feel great about.
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