1 John 2:1-6
I grew up in the church. I was baptized into the Christian community at age 10, began seminary at age 25, and entered the Episcopal priesthood at age 32. Throughout my life, I’ve had times in which I’ve burned with energy to immerse myself in the scriptures and model my every action after Christ. But I’d be remiss not to admit that I’ve also had plenty of times when my zeal to study and pray and serve has dwindled into dull embers. Sometimes other concerns, tasks, hobbies, work, or simple apathy banks that fire for a time.
Well, thank God that faith is not a feeling. My faith doesn’t depend on the euphoria of mountaintop experiences in retreats, worship, or prayer; nor does my faith fail if I find myself feeling depressed, distracted, or even doubtful. Emotions are complex signals from our body and brain and are often affected by factors outside our control; faith is not an emotion. Faith is a choice made up of many small actions that occur over the course of our discipleship. Our passage says, Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments (v. 3). Obedience is not a feeling, nor is it a single choice, but many.
When the spiritual fire is dwindling in your heart, try to notice the feeling without judgment. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion and then wonder: what actions can I take to live out my faith? How can I show love to someone else? How can I bring good news to the poor? How can I reach out to connect with God and my neighbors today?
How connected do you feel to God right now? What action could you take today to live your faith?
Loving God, be near to me and make yourself known to me regardless of how my faith may feel to me. Inspire and guide me always to walk in the steps of Christ as I seek to live out my faith. Amen.