There Ain’t No Easy Button

by Mark Gungor

Lots of people wish life had an easy button… like the commercial for the office supply store Staples, where you just push the big red button with the word “easy” on it and everything you want  just magically happens. But the reality is, there are no easy buttons in life, and that is especially true in Christianity—even though people often think and act like God is the easy button for us.

Frequently, believers will treat God like the magic genie or giant vending machine in the sky. We ask Him to do things just so we don’t have to do it ourselves;  then we don’t have to put any work or effort into a situation.  Husbands and wives will pray for God to make their marriage better, yet they will continue to invest no time and attention into the relationship.  People may be diagnosed with some illness or condition and beg God to heal them and take it away, but they won’t do anything to change their diet, exercise or lifestyle that would improve their health.  Students will blow off studying for an exam, yet earnestly pray for God to help them do well on the test.  There are people who pray and ask God to bring them a job or a spouse, but never go out and look for one! I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but that’s not the way it works.

God will help us. We can ask Him to give us the strength and courage to persevere and do the right things—like dealing with disease, a difficult relationship, or temptation—but He doesn’t just magically fix it or take it all away to make it easy.  This is especially true when it comes to dealing with and controlling feelings. Here is one common example that I’ve heard numerous times from men:   I’m so tempted to look at other women and pornography and I’ve prayed and prayed for God to take those feelings away. I’ve also heard people say that they are experiencing great temptation with attraction to another person other than their spouse and want God to just “take those feelings away”. Mind you, they don’t want to flee the temptation or stay away from this person or situation.  They don’t want to learn to control their feelings—they want the easy button instead. And quite simply, there isn’t one.

Part of being a Christ follower is learning not to be led by feelings. We must learn that feelings don’t determine our behavior or else we will be doomed. Most people think that if they feel it, they just have to do it and that’s why they pray those prayers asking God to “take them away”. They reason that surely humans can’t help what they feel! Sadly, too many people end up being slaves to their feelings and think they cannot possibly manage, control or resist their urges, temptations and emotions. Therefore they believe that the only reasonable and certain solution is for God to just zap them away. Nonsense!

The bible is very clear that we are to fight temptation and that God will help us so we don’t have to succumb.  I Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV) That means you don’t have to give in, nothing is too much for you to take—despite what your feelings tell you.  In the book of James scripture tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from you (4:7). But we don’t want to resist the devil; we want to pray and ask God to make him to go away. These are wrong thoughts and wrong prayers. God won’t do it. He won’t sprinkle you with pixie dust and make it all vanish. We are expected to live by His word and that means we have to do our part in this—never giving up and never giving in. James goes on to say we are blessed when we persevere (1:12 and 5:11)

Every human being is tempted—whether that means you are tempted by visual lusts, feelings of attraction or dissatisfaction, the tendency to be mean and nasty to people, complacency in your faith, food, alcohol, drugs, and the list goes on and on—but that doesn’t mean we are to be condemned for feeling certain things.  We are to resist, not in our own will power, because as believers we have the Holy Spirit and the power of the risen Christ at work in us to enable us to stand up to any and every temptation or feeling. The problem is often people equate the want to with the have to, but just because you feel it, doesn’t mean that you listen to those wants or feelings or that you act upon them. And sometimes those “want tos” can be really strong, but they are never greater than the strength we have as Christians. Don’t tell me that your desire to look at porn is more powerful than Jesus!

It’s at times of temptation and struggle that we must rely on the power available to us. That is when it is vitally important to have the word of God in you so are able to quote the truths of scripture that will enable you to combat and fight those urges.** Only then will we be able to break free from being a slave to feelings and not allow emotions to dictate our choices.  We must stop thinking we have to be “true and honest to our feelings”. They are the most unreliable and dishonest thing a person could possibly follow. As Christians we must learn to control our feelings and not allow them to control us.

Stop asking and expecting God to do all the heavy lifting, just so you can have it easy and not do the work that it requires. Remember, there is no easy button in heaven…you’ll have to go to Staples for that.

**For a list of scripture to help you with any kind of temptation, please see our link at http://www.laughyourway.com/resources/sexual-addiction/.

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    22 Responses to “There Ain’t No Easy Button”

    1. Dianna Zaragoza wrote:

      An excellent article. I myself have struggled with such feelings for a long time, in a situation I cannot escape. But the Lord has helped me to withstand the temptation, and I’ve gotten much stronger as a result.

      A person should never follow your feelings if they contradict God’s word. Feelings are chemical reactions in your brain and body – NOT gospel truth.

    2. Henry Maris wrote:

      My experience in controlling my feelings don’t go along with your article on There ain’y no easy button. I’m a person who was not controlled by my feelings, I actually quashed my feelings to such a large extent that I didn’t feel things very much any more I had suppressed them for many years and lived by logical thinking. It took God working in my life to bring back the feelings so I could have a better marriage with my wife who feels a lot. I still battle with it trying to relate to people because i don’t know how they feel or how i should respond. I have had to stop trying and just let God do it all and bit by bit it is just happening. Thank you for the article and God bless you. PS the verse should be given fully “submit to God resist the devil and he will flee. Cannot do it correctly without submitting to God cannot do it on your own.

      • Magma5 wrote:

        There is a difference between feelings and actions. Feelings ought to be acknowledged, whatever they are. No need to quash. (Ex. You can say, “I’m angry” without yelling or hitting something.) But don’t let feelings be an excuse for actions.

    3. ERICK wrote:

      This is great advice and a true one i thank God for Mark Gungor May the Lord God greatly bless you. Your advices goes many many miles from where you are, Am in Kenya and this and your DVDs and other postings are such a blessing.

    4. Alison wrote:

      Very thought-provoking post. I’ve been guilty in the past of asking God to “take away” difficult emotions instead of quoting “I can do all things in Him who gives me strength” and getting on with it. Although I fully agree with what you have written above, I also believe that sometimes God does heal us of damaging thoughts/emotions, but it does also take effort on our part, and we have to WANT to be healed. We can’t constantly be putting ourselves in trigger situations and then go whining to God to “take away” the resulting thoughts/emotions. I really enjoyed this post.

    5. Thom wrote:

      It’s actually 1 Corinthians 10:13. :)

    6. Christina wrote:

      This article is wonderful! I love that it’s not one to make you feel good about yourself but to convict you of the things you need to correct. This is a similar situation I have faced for years and God has lead me to make changes in my own life. After I submitted to those changes then I saw Him working on my emotions. One comes before the other. And I am so blessed to have an amazing marriage!

    7. Kelita wrote:

      Balance is the key to life. Great article! Thank you for sharing this and I in turn, have shared it on my fb page!

    8. Jordan wrote:

      That’s an on-time article. I struggle with feelings more often than I would like to. Of course, the truth is, we all do. My usual struggles are with work and setting goals. It’s like I’m just relying on the Spirit when I’m really trying not to do anything that would upset my “precious feelings”. I think this article would be helpful to anyone. Hope more get to read it. It sure blessed me Mark. Thanks!!!

    9. Lena wrote:

      Thank you for your article.
      I live in Ukraine and I started to be involved into the family ministry one yeaar ago. Your articles help me a lot to grow up and develop as a specialist.
      Thank you very much!

    10. Jacquelyne Joens wrote:

      I love your work! I am a therapist in Iowa and I use the short version movie clip of your “Tale of Two Brains” as the beginning of all my marriage counseling adventures. It is a great discussion starter.

      Thanks for all you do!

      Jacquelyne Joens, LMHC, MA, NCC

    11. Paul Salahuddin Armstrong wrote:

      Excellent, superb advice! I only wish there were more ministers of religion, who had such a sound grasp of the facts of life. May Allah bless you, brother! :)

    12. Jim Cotter wrote:

      Very insightful, do not conform to this world but be transformed by the next world. Walk in FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE.

    13. Tyra wrote:

      This was right on time. I have been guilty of asking without asking, and expecting without putting in the work. I need to remind myself that my actions and thoughts are mine, and I have to be responsible enough to do the “heavy lifting”, and know that The Lord still has my back.

    14. Sheri wrote:

      Thank you so much for this topic. Blessings and safety to you as you travel.

    15. Mari Uys wrote:

      Thank you Mark. You hit the nail on the head! I hope many frustrated Christians take this seriously. God Bless. Mari

    16. Carolyn wrote:

      Really enjoyed the wisdom in this article..thank you!

    17. Tikisha wrote:

      I really appreciate this article, I have been guilty a time or two-THOUSAND of thinking that GOD was my big vending machine in the sky. Heck, its much easier to push the “easy button” than it was to push my butt in gear! Thank you for this candid look at MOVING to get things done. With Christ we can do all things, doesn’t mean that we sit back and let Christ do all things.. we gotta do our part!

      God bless you and if you’re ever on facebook, check us out <3 http://www.facebook.com/LoveBeingMiC

    18. Natalya wrote:

      Thank you! I should have read it at the beginning of the Lent. Anyway, it’s never late to start.

    19. chad wrote:

      great stuff

     
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