Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 NLT
Years ago, as a young Bible school student, I read a quote by Hannah Whithall Smith that greatly impacted my life. She made this statement about obedience, “Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness, if only we had perfect confidence in the power we were obeying.” It is not God’s will for “perfect misery” to be the fruit of our obedience to what He asks of us or has planned for us.
God wants us to serve Him with gladness of heart (Psalm 100:2). Jesus never said, “My yoke is difficult and My burden is heavy.” At times, what God asks of us may stretch us and move us out of our comfort zone. It may even be something that is far beyond anything we could ever imagine doing, but it does not mean that obedience to Him is grievous or will lead us into despair.
An obedient, loving response to God on our part may not always result in a positive loving response from others. Sometimes our obedience to God may bring opposition, persecution, or even suffering. However, these opposing responses do not need to bring us into personal heaviness or discouragement. In the early church, when the Apostles experienced opposition and persecution, we read this about their response, “They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” Acts 5:40-41 NLT
In order for us to consistently walk in a journey of joy, we must be convinced of the following three things regarding God’s will for us. These three things are found in Romans 12:1-2.
We can walk in the joy of obedience to His will because everything God asks of us—
1. Is a good thing.
2. Is the best thing.
3. Is the right thing.
Romans 12:1-2 also reminds us that our response to obey God’s will is because He has been abundantly merciful to us. It is in the light of His mercies that we can walk in the joy of obedience as we present ourselves fully to Him.