My husband indulges my Internet commentary and philosophizing, but it’s just not his thing. He often notes that if people lived the truths they already know rather than pretending to dig for deeper truth, the world would be a much more sane place. Simple, common sense words but very profound, no?
At the end of the conversation on my post Children are not a fashion accessory, Christina offered a few thoughts for me to consider. Although I stand behind my post’s original assertion, I also acknowledge that she has a point. When you’re wholly committed to doing the right thing, no bells, whistles (or tingles) are necessary. It’s nice, adds a degree of pleasantness to life and marriage. I’m happy that my marriage has that spark, but it’s only absolutely necessary if you’re a person of low integrity, little character and lack Christian conviction.
We spend a lot of time in this neck of the sphere discussing the practical realities of life, relationships, health, and politics. I am by nature a “what works” kind of thinker so these conversations are intellectually stimulating for me. They also make me appreciate my husband’s approach more and more all the time.
The more I learn, the more I realize how simple life can really be. None of us is ever going to be perpetually in love, or always feel like making the healthy choice, or be able to make the ideal decision. Sometimes we made decisions a long time ago that has rendered the ideal option forever and always…impossible.
All we have is right here and right now. The beauty of this for the Christian is that there are very few things (none really) where we have to search for truth and wring our hands to figure out the best way handle a situation. We have the Scripture, which offers us everything we need that pertains to life and godliness.
It really does come to down to reading what God’s word says and obeying it.
Don’t feel like respecting or submitting to your husband (and forget about having sex with him)? How you feel doesn’t matter. Just do it:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. Corinthians 7:3-5
Feel like eating a whole roll of chocolate chip cookie dough? And why is that nasty store bought stuff in your fridge anyway? Remember what Proverbs says about the glutton and don’t do it:
And put a knife to thy throat, if thou [be] a man given to appetite. Proverbs 23:2
Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. Provers 25:16
When we have an overwhelming desire to whine and complain, there is a Biblical alternative:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8
We are hard wired to take the path of least resistance. We have to override that tendency consistently or we’ll succumb to our sin nature every single time. Whether it’s our marriages, health and fitness, family obligations, friendships, prayer life or lack thereof, we have to act intentionally and in obedience.
One of my peeves is the modern trend in Christian teaching to avoid preaching a hard line on obedience while focusing on all the ways we can make our feelings line up with the Biblical injunction to love, respect, and give. Doing what’s right simply because it’s right is enough.
It can be helpful to contemplate the practical ways we can do better and the strategies that can make it easier for us to do the right thing, and we’ll continue to do that. But it’s dangerous to rely on pragmatism, fleshly urges, and fickle feelings as a guide. Christianity requires that we act on principles.
Sometimes the simplest answer is the best one. We spend so much energy trying to figure out how to make it easier to do the right thing, how to make it feel right. Perhaps we should skip all that. It’s too bad we find that so hard to do because more often than not, when you do the right thing, right feelings follow.
When you feel conflicted even though you know full well what you should do, just do it.