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Certainly, part of mature freedom is learning how to direct the course of our own life and not merely living in bad faith according to the dictates of others. But this doesn’t mean we can simply do what we want when we want to do it. There are many things we’re called to do simply because it’s our duty to do so regardless of how we might feel otherwise.

For instance, work, marriage, parenting, and the like all require us to show up and fulfill our duty independent of us being in the mood to do so. The command to love our neighbor would be similar as well.

Of course, life is much easier when there’s a natural desire to already do the things we should be doing. But duty does not wait on these sparks of inspiration to motivate us.

For example, we might spend quality time with our wife, make love, or speak words of life over her simply because it’s our duty to do so. This is not a passive submission to her external expectations, but rather a deeper yes to simply fulfill our role as husband. And we uphold our duty when we’re in the mood, and when we’re not.

To be sure, the point here is not that duty trumps our own soul care. And there’s wisdom in recognizing our limitations and inability to do all the things we should be doing. But all too often we neglect our duty simply because it’s not convenient, fun, or desirable in the moment. And this is not okay, as it diminishes our impact and the good we’ve been called to do.

In the end, the mature and responsible man fulfills his duty even when he’s not in the mood. And this is how we consistently bring good despite our daily ups and downs in life.

Photo by Stephanie Nückel on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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