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The Joy of Obedience?

Does the phrase 'joy of obedience' sound strange at all to you?  As we have grown up, many of us will have absorbed an idea that obedience is about keeping some rules imposed on us 'or else'....

Stop and think for a moment, do you still see obedience as an obligation - an obligation that is likely to be hard and joy sapping but something that you must do to please God or demonstrate some level of holiness?  At the back of your mind is there some resonance with the notion that Christians are 'kill-joys' because of all the rules about what you can't do?

I have certainly experienced that in some measure.  I think it has something to do with the emotional highs (rewards) we can experience while indulging our lust (for food, sex, things, status etc) or in taking revenge.  In other words, sinning can feel good.

Are we stuck there? 

Here is another question to ponder - would a good, loving, joy-filled God have created a universe where the highest experiences of joy can be obtained through sin?

In contrast to our common experience Jesus experienced the joy of obedience:

John 15:9-11 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

If that seems like a different sort of life, you are right.  Becoming a Christian is about dying to our old life and receiving a new life in Jesus Christ.  Both the dying and the receiving of new life happens by grace through faith.  This includes letting God change what brings us joy!

We don't just need to die to sin, we need to die to the joy of sinning.
We don't just need to come alive to obedience, we need to come alive to the joy of obedience.

Ask God to do that for you, trust Him that he will.

If you have only known the taste of rotten apples, you will go on eating them.  BUT, once you have tasted and appreciated the delights of fresh crisp apples, you are unlikely to ever go back to eating rotten ones again.

David Wanstall, 20/10/2009