Fake It Til You Make It
This shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God. Zechariah 6:11
Whenever I’ve struggled with some self-destructive behavior, I’ve struggled because the behavior is something that I want to do. I have an appetite for unhealthy food. I’ve had an appetite for drugs. I’m naturally self-centered.
In these struggles, the solution that seems obvious to me, is to change my appetite or my feelings. So, I try to think and pray my way out of it. Erroneously, I expect that God will change my appetite, and then my behavior will follow. In the case of my addiction, I prayed for God to magically remove the desire, but remained unwilling to stop or go to treatment.
In retrospect, this was absurd. My addiction taught me that if I want to be different, I must act differently, even when I don’t feel like it. I learned what Fake it Til You Make It means. Just like bravery can only be practiced when fear is present, faith is obedience even when we don’t feel like obeying. The reality of my feelings didn’t change until long after my actual behavior changed. God didn’t transform me until I followed him.
This is the principle taught in today’s passage where Zechariah insisted that God would be faithful in the rebuilding of the once-destroyed temple. God promised that his people would perform what seemed like an impossible task, but first, they must obey and start building. This will happen. I promise. But you must follow me before you see the miracle.
This is where most of us go wrong. We pray for change, but we refuse to change. We want God to remove the appetite for junk food, when what we need to do is keep a food journal, shop differently, and throw out the junk food. We want God to take away the appetite for alcohol, when what we need to do is go to meetings and/or treatment.
We certainly need to pray, but when our prayer is our excuse for disobedience, we’re not doing it right. Every day, we must pray, asking God what to do. Then, we must do it, even if we don’t feel like it. God moves in our obedience.