Stirred but not Started
“. . . he used to enjoy listening to him.” Mark 6:20
Herod had imprisoned John, but Herod indulged himself by listening to John. His words were fresh and the novelty of John’s speaking style excited and stirred him emotionally. He had listened to John many times. Although he was moved, there was one thing Herod never did, that was to give up his sin.
As Herod listened, his conscience was awakened. His emotions were stirred, but his will never grappled with his sin. At times after listening to John, he might have prayed, he might have wept, or given up something, or even gone out and done a good deed, but at the center of his life, his sin remained untouched.
This verse reveals how one can sit in church and remain unchanged. One might hear the word, gladly enjoy the speaker’s style of presentation, gain intellectual pleasure, have their interest peaked by the personality of the teacher, but unless the listener yields their heart and will to the claims of Jesus, it’s of no use, it’s just mental gymnastics.
It’s not the emotions that bring about lasting change, but rather a decision of the will that determines what we become. The emotions can be frequently stirred and worship music can cause the heart to momentarily flash into flame, but without a single-hearted decision of the will, all the light and heat are style without substance.
The danger of living faith solely on emotions is that we confuse theatrics for actual Christianity. There’s born a false sense of security where we are only as faithful, as our feelings will allow. We become worship junkies always looking for the next fix of emotional rush. It’s an artificial stimulant, always requiring the dose to be increased for the desired effect.
For the disciple, the decision to intentionally follow after Jesus, to be conformed to the mind of Christ, and live in His ways, determines the emotions. Without a full-hearted, buoyant commitment to pursue Christ, our emotions are of little use. We have been stirred, but have we started to follow?
Are you just sitting and soaking up the truth? Are you living out what you heard? Is there a deliberate, intentional pursuit of Jesus?