I sat across from her, praying for wisdom. She told me about her life, full of "delights" and "fun times". But she was miserable. I could see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice. My own heart full of sadness that my friend was looking for her joy and personal value in all the wrong places.
She had been wrestling with apathy in her relationship with God and was losing. In my times praying for her in the past, I had realized that she was a prodigal son, and I was an older brother. But instead of acting like the older brother in the story, I wanted to respond well. I wanted to respond the way the Father does. "While (the younger son) was still far off, the father went out to greet him". There is nothing but love and forgiveness in the heart of the father. So I had been praying that my own heart would reflect that of the Father.
When it was my time to respond, I sat there silently for a minute, wondering what I should say. I asked my friend what she believed. She listed a bunch of theological statements but finished with a "but I don't feel it." She explained that she didn't want to go through the actions for religious purposes. That if her heart wasn't in the action, then she shouldn't do it, right?
Glad for all the painful moments God had taken me through, my own deserts, I explained to my friend that there is a difference between going through the actions just for religion's sake and acting in faith although you might not feel it. The first, actions just to say you can completed your religious duties, just leads to self-righteousness. But the second, the harder one, takes a mind over matter kind of determination. It's when you say, I know that this is true. So I will act accordingly, even though I might not really feel like it's true.
As weak willed beings, we often don't feel like obeying. We don't feel like giving up our idols to have Jesus is really worth it. But that is exactly what faith is. Faith is living out what you believe, even when you don't feel it.
And so we pray that God would make us men and women of faith, of consequence, of Him.