‘I take joy in doing your will.’ Psalm 40:8 NLT
Obedience is one of those things in life that often feels negative and restrictive. We might associate it with being told to do things we don’t really want to do, or we might feel resentful towards those who have some sort of authority over us. But obedience to God is totally different. Following His commands and guidance should actually feel completely joyful. Ever watched some dogs taking part in agility competitions at a dog show? One thing to notice is the ecstatic reaction of the dogs at the end of their run when they get back to their trainer. Left to themselves, they’d probably rather be off chasing things or seeking out a snack. But they’ve learned to suppress their will and submit to the will of their trainer. And a good trainer achieves this by showing love to their dog. The trainer is overjoyed when the dog has tried its best (even if it hasn’t been successful), and the dog’s delighted to make the trainer happy. It prefers to share in the thrill of that joy rather than to follow its natural instincts.
And that’s very much the way we should feel when we’re obedient to God. We could go off and do our own thing, but we’ll be much happier following His guidance. The psalmist probably knew this: ‘I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart.’ (Psalm 40:8 NLT) Obeying God wasn’t a chore to be miserable about—it was something he desired to do above everything else. Of course, we may not like the task God’s asked us to do, but we can take our joy from knowing we’re doing our Father’s will.
SoulFood: Col 3–4, Philem, Lk 21:1–11, Ps 78:9–16, Prov 23:22–25
word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018