Preach It Until You Feel It
Most of us live life feeling our way towards an action, rather than acting our way towards a feeling. We have it backwards.
Instead, we ought to act our way towards a feeling, trusting that healthy emotions will follow healthy belief and action.
There is no more important arena for exercising this action-precedes-feelings order than in the talking/preaching you do to yourself and others.
The great John Wesley wrestled with this dynamic at a crucial juncture in his ministry. Wesley had come to believe the biblical gospel, to believe the staggering good news of justification by faith alone. This was the gospel he was preaching to himself and to the crowds. His brain believed this gospel, but he wasn’t feeling it and so he doubted whether it would be authentic of him to continue preaching the gospel while lacking the accompanying emotions of joy and feelings of freedom. Fortunately, John Wesley had a friend who gave him a single sentence of counsel that set him free. Below is their historic conversation.
John Wesley: “I see it clearly with my head but I do not feel it, and I had better stop preaching it until I feel it.”
Peter Bohler: “Do not stop preaching it, but go on preaching it until you do feel it.”
Peter Bohler’s ancient counsel to Wesley is my counsel to you, especially when it comes to the discipline of preaching the gospel to yourself and to others.
DO NOT STOP PREACHING IT, BUT GO ON PREACHING IT UNTIL YOU DO FEEL IT!
Today, don’t feel yourself towards an action, act your way towards a feeling. Don’t wait for the joy in order to act, go get the joy! Preach more gospel to yourself. Speak more gospel to others. Do not stop preaching it, but go on preaching it until you do feel it.