Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Monday, January 29 - Faith Over Feelings

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 2:3-5

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Michael Jordan didn’t like the “triangle offense” when it was first introduced to him. He mocked it as an “equal opportunity offense.” But Coach Phil Jackson eventually convinced Jordan that every player needed to touch the ball so they felt like they were part of the team — and it would also prevent opposing teams from double-teaming Jordan. It must have worked, as the Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships in the 1990s by playing unselfish basketball.

Similarly, Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross. As He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew the horrible physical pain He would experience before it happened. Since Jesus is God, He had complete knowledge of every detail of His torture and crucifixion, and He was in agony in anticipation of all that His human flesh would endure. The Bible describes sweat drops of blood draining out of His forehead as He agonized over what He faced.

Though Jesus felt the stress of the cross and it weighed heavily upon His mind, He went through terrible grief for us anyway. Doctors describe hematohidrosis as a rare condition when someone sweats drops of blood due to dealing with a stressful situation. Jesus proved Himself to be fully God and fully man as He accepted the Heavenly Father’s will, even though He may have felt like running and hiding. He lived unselfishly, not letting His feelings direct His life. “He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done'” (Matthew 26:42).

If we stop and think about it, Jesus knew the soldiers would spit in His face, that He’d be stripped of His clothing, and He would endure the worst kind of painful torture, including nails driven through His hands and feet. Yet He chose to face that humiliation for us, despite His anguish about it. The crown of thorns drew much blood and mocked His glorious Kingdom. Jesus put aside any concerns for Himself and died for our salvation. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

When Paul wrote letters to churches, he pointed to the example of Jesus and reminded us to live by faith rather than feelings in our teams, marriages, parenting, jobs and friendships. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5).

In other words, we are better teammates, friends and partners when we learn to be unselfish, dedicated servants of Christ. Let’s not act based on our feelings but on what God calls us to do.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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