We just moved, and my husband found an old notebook I’d used to make notes on Christian books I’ve read, and notes about Scripture as well. Flipping through it just now, I came across one verse that stuck out to me.
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.”
‘Willing’ in this verse literally translates to, ‘to breathe for.’
I think the most important word in that verse is one of the smallest ones. And.
God doesn’t want us to obey because we have to. He doesn’t want us to consider His laws a burden. He wants us to be willing!
My son Tobi is 2. Sometimes he’ll do something that’s hurtful to someone else. He might talk back to Louis or I, or he might push his sister or grab a friend’s toy. We feel it’s important to have him apologize, but I think it’s even more important that we try to teach him WHY what he did was wrong so that he can be sincere in his apology. Empty words, just like empty actions, are meaningless.
If we were to tell God outright, “I love you, Lord, but I’m going to deliberately do something you tell me not to anyways because it sounds like fun”, how sincere are our words? Do we really love Him?
Of course, we all sin; we’re human, we’re not perfect, it happens. God knows this. God doesn’t expect perfection, He expects sincerity.
Or, we can look at the other side of it.
We can obey God, but grumble the whole time.
“God, how come I have to go to church when what I really want to do is sleep in for once?”
“This Bible is so boring, I’d rather be watching a movie.”
If our hearts are not in the right place, how much do we really love God?
God wants us to be joyful as we obey. He doesn’t want us to obey because we have to. He looks at our hearts! He knows what we’re feeling and what we’re thinking!
God wants us to follow Him because we love Him, not just to receive our “Get out of hell free” card. True love will direct our actions. Instead of reading the Bible because we have to, we’ll read the Bible because we really want to learn more about our Father! Instead of going to church because we have to, we’ll go because we’re excited to hear God’s word. Instead of making the choice to not swear because “the church people might start talking”, we’ll make that choice because we know it grieves God. We need to remember that we are expressing our sincere love to God through our actions, and not trying to earn His love or approval through our actions. When it comes to Judgment Day God will be looking at our hearts, not our good deeds lists.