Paul says, "God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him." Philippians 2:13
Isn't it true that most of us don't connect obedience with pleasure? I think we're used to obeying out of necessity or fear. As kids I think we all had parents who made us obey "because I said so!" It's certainly not wrong for parents to expect obedience from their children or bosses to expect cooperation and productivity from their employees. But I don't think it's the best definition or the highest motivation for obedience to God. In my mind the key element missing is the "want to" factor. This takes the "ought to, have to, better do it or else God will zap you" element out of it. It then elevates obeying God to a level of joyful response to all that He's done for you. Obedience isn't something you have to manufacture. Rather I believe it's something you need to cultivate and then activate because the desire is already present within you. When you put this into action it's better known as "serving the Lord with gladness." Anything else really is outward compliance. It's sort of like the little boy who misbehaved and was told by his mother to go and sit in the corner. After a few minutes she called to him from the other room, "Are you still sitting down?" He said, "Yeah, I'm sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside." This may look like obedience, but it's really nothing more than outward compliance without the inward response of eager and joyful obedience. How times are we sitting in our corners with that mindset toward God?!! Yep, joyful obedience...just another way of dying to self!
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