Fake It 'Till You Make It

Obedience is a difficult thing for us humans. It is one thing for us to love someone who is being difficult; it is another to get to a place where we even WANT to love that difficult person in the first place. Some days are just not good days. You know what I am talking about, those days where even the littlest things set us off. Where people bother us, and we don't worry about bothering them back.

For days like these, C S Lewis offers some wise advice.   

"The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less." (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 131)

Sometimes we think the path to change occurs down a linear, one way road.

1. I believe something.
2. I grow a desire for my belief.
3. My actions then reflect my original belief.

Often this "(A) head, (B) heart, (C) hand process" is how we change our fickle exteriors. The gospel message must first be received and believed upon. Then (and only then) it impacts are hearts and our affections; and ultimately, because it has touched us in this deep place--we now live in accordance to our beliefs.

But humans are more complex than three easy steps. We are messy, convoluted, and unfortunately contradictory beings. Sometimes I believe something, but the desire is absent. Other times I might have the desire, but I just cannot bring the external action into reality no matter how hard I try. The Christian life is a life of an inner war, and the apostle Paul understood this more than most when he wrote: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate" (Rom 7:15)

When we are confronted with this dilemma, and our Godly desires are inconveniently lacking, I say fake it. Be kind to that frustrating person. Speak truth into the life of that individual you have been avoiding. Perhaps God will honor our obedience mired in human weakness. And maybe, if Lewis is right, the desires will eventually follow.

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity: HarperCollins, June 2, 2009. Print.    


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