“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls.” Hebrews 12:2-3 Message
We place far too much value on our feelings in this generation. We are very much like those we read of in the book of Judges, where everyone did what was right in their own eyes. They did whatever they felt like doing. Sometimes I believe we lift our feelings above the Cross of Christ. In some cases, we even build an altar and worship those feelings. Today, I feel good so, I will do right. Today, I feel good, so I will be nice, be kind, be grateful. But when I don’t feel “it” then I can make all sorts of excuses for not doing right, for blaming others, for whatever bugs me. However, am I really to be led by my feelings? Do my feelings determine truth? Do my feelings tell an accurate story? I am afraid that if we have to trust our feelings to be grateful, we will fail miserably. Why? Because there will always be reasons we can feel ungrateful. And if we place a high value on how we feel, we will feel justified in our ingratitude.
I wonder how Stephen felt in Acts 7 when he was being stoned? Did he feel like being a man who forgives his offenders? Did he feel like focusing on God when the stones were beating against his flesh? Did his feelings gain any place in that moment? No, because he never elevated his pain, feelings, or suffering above the Cross of Christ.
The deeper we journey into this pilgrimage of gratitude, the more I am realizing that ingratitude is rooted in self worship. Now I realize that may be a controversial statement, but ask yourself, what does ingratitude focus on? I think if we are honest, we will see the big “I”, “me”, and “self”. I have never once met a person captivated by the gaze of Jesus and express ingratitude at the same time. Why is that? Maybe because you can’t really see Him as He is and be ungrateful.
Are you struggling today with feeling “it”? I challenge you to remove your gaze from self and to look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of your faith. That my friends, is a reason to be grateful whether our feelings line up or lie profusely. Eyes up! Attitude at His attention! Gratitude overflowing!
Today I am grateful that my feelings do not decide truth. I am thankful that I can choose to abandon those feelings and follow the path that has been laid out before me which leads to life. I am grateful for the reminder of this today. All of our struggles are temporal. He is the Eternal One and my hope is not in what I feel today, but in who I know. Thank you Jesus.