Had some sad news a while ago. A guy, who has been married to his wife for 30+ years, bailed: moved away, took his "stuff" and left her here.
A little background.....This family has been in our church for over 10 years; Christians even longer. The guy was active in men's ministry events, was in a small group and organized some social events. Bottom line: not a stranger to church or to God's expectations. THIS is why the whole "moving away from my wife" thing bothered me.
I had a chance to talk to the guy about this decision. My words to him were "You know what you need to do. You know what God wants you to do. It is going to be hard. It is going to take time. You have to live by faith and believe that when God asks you to do something, it will be the best: not the easiest, not the smoothest, but the best. You cannot live by your life solely by what you feel. You have a decision to make either trust God and do the hard work of being a husband or not." His decision was "not".
His decision really troubled me - why would a guy who has been involved in the church and in a relationship with Christ for so long, abandon obedience for what he felt? There are probably a thousand answers to that question (too much for me to pontificate here....).
The bigger question is related to me. How many times to I make decisions, think thoughts, or do things based on what I feel I should do? How often do I act on a gut feeling or an emotion, instead of being obedient to what God commands or desires? I know this happens more than I would like it to.
I KNOW that if I DON'T have a habit of practicing obedience, even in the smallest of things, I will default to my feelings or me in tight spots. I know that if I am not practiced in obedience and self control, I will not be able to "turn it on" at the appropriate time when I really need it.
The charge: live an "aware" life: aware of those around you, aware of yourself, aware of what God wants you to believe and do. Practice awareness and obedience so that when the big things come up, it will be natural for you to do what God asks you to: even if you don't feel like it.