In the day of social media, we have developed a new vernacular. Now, we ‘friend’ people. We say, “He friended me.” The word ‘follow’ has a new element as well. We now ‘follow’ people on social media. But here is a thought, “Who is leading?” Of course, as believers, we would like to say that Jesus is leading. JESUS, TAKE THE WHEEL! But who really leads us. When you are in crisis moments, what leads you?
The Bible has an interesting take on this. We are called to follow Christ, but our natural state is not to follow Christ but to follow our own heart. The Bible says that we make plans out of our hearts (Proverbs 16:9). Of course, we are also taught that even though we make plans out of our hearts, the Lord’s purpose still prevails (Proverbs 19:21).
We make plans for what we are going to do and what we want to do out of our own hearts. The Lord then reacts to our plans according to His purpose. If our plans do not align with His purpose for our life, He works to turn our hearts. If our plans do align, He works to open doors and bless our path. Nevertheless, the direction we take is born in the depths of our hearts, the seat of our emotions and thoughts. Who is leading us? We lead ourselves out of our own hearts.
To follow the path of the Lord, our hearts must be changed and filled with His thoughts and His emotions. This is the process of purifying our hearts so that we learn to feel and think as Christ does. In the meantime, we at times lead ourselves astray by our own thoughts and emotions making the way we think and feel extremely important in our spiritual development. And this brings us to our Verse of the Day:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
As we analyze this passage, it is important to note that we cannot control how we feel. We can only control how we behave, but our behavior can change the way we feel. Have you ever thrown a pity party and sat over in the corner not wanting to engage anyone, but just sit there in your own sadness? Well, if you have, think back to how you came out of it. First, you made a decision that you were going to come out of it. Your feelings did not suddenly change, but you decided to change your behavior. You got up from the lonely place and started engaging in people. And even then, it took a while for the emotions to follow, but it is our behavior that will change our emotions. You may feel depressed, but when you choose to change your behavior by speaking positively rather than depressively, eventually your emotion will transform so long as you are sincere in your efforts. So when we read this passage, it is a command not to our emotions because we don’t have control there. This is a command of our behavior.
Be joyful. Pray continually. Give thanks always. These are behaviors that we can choose to do no matter how we feel. These behaviors change our perspective. We must focus on what is good instead of what is bad. We have to stop griping and start praying. We smile instead of frown. We change the intonation of our voice from heartache to hope. Now, notice the result of changing our behavior. This new behavior not only changes the emotions within our heart, but this new heart also leads us into God’s will for our life.
His will is that we are blessed, powerful, and influential for healing, reconciliation, and salvation in others. We can’t get there unless we change our behavior and stop letting our hearts lead us.
Our natural state is to be led by our own thoughts and emotions, but in this, the will of God will evade us like a two-year-old who doesn’t want to have his diaper changed. But when we choose to obey the Word and will of God despite how we feel, we are changed and moved by the Holy Spirit to the right relationships, the right churches, the right ministries, the right career, the right decisions, the right path.
How are you doing in this? Are you led too much by your own emotions and thoughts that do not align with Christ’s? How well are you able to change your behavior according to Scripture when your heart is somewhere else?
Leave me a comment and may the Lord give you supernatural power to be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
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