'I take joy in doing your will.' Psalm 40:8 NLT
Obedience is often seen as something negative and restrictive, being told to do stuff or being victim to authority. But obedience to God is totally different. Following his commands and guidance should actually feel completely joyful.
Ever watched dogs taking part in agility competitions at a dog show? How ecstatic they are when they finish and get back to their trainers? Left to themselves, they'd rather be off chasing interesting smells or other dogs. 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's overjoyed when the dog's tried its best and done what it's been asked (even if it hasn't been successful), and the dog's delighted that they've made the trainer happy. It prefers to share in that joy than to follow its natural instincts, because that joy is just so amazing.
The psalmist wrote: '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.
So what now? Next time you're faced with the choice of obeying God or going your own way, imagine a massive, joyful party waiting at the end of the task God's got for you. Not much beats joy!
Soulfood: Job 18-20 Luke 18:1-17 Ps 116:1-11 Pro 8:8-9,