Wednesday, September 2

The reason for joyful obedience

Scripture: Ezekiel 20-21, Psalm 111, Revelation 7

Ezekiel 20:11 There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them.

Ezekiel 20:21 But their children, too, rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life.

Observation

When God gave His laws to Israel, He told them that His goal was that they would obey and live and prosper.  He says this repeatedly in Deuteronomy—one example:

Deuteronomy 5:33 Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

He also repeats this through the prophets, such as this passage in Ezekiel.  God’s laws weren’t designed to restrict them, but free them; they were not to take away their lives, but to give them life.  God’s laws showed them how to live so that they were aligned with God and with the way He made the world to work.  God’s words give wisdom for living—really living.

Application

While we are saved by the grace of God, not by keeping God’s laws, nonetheless, our lives are better when we obey.  Disciples of Jesus listen to Him and do what He says (see Matthew 28:18-20).  And when we do, life just goes better.  

1 John 5:3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

His commands are not burdensome.  They are not a religious burden that weighs us down and robs us of joy and life.  Instead, they make life better.  

Much of the misery I see people go through is either self-induced, brought on by their own bad choices, or the result of others’ bad choices.  Our sin and others’ sin spoil life.  Jesus came to free us and bring abundant life.  

Today, I choose to do what He says—joyfully—knowing that He wants what is best for me, and that His way brings life to the full.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to do what You say, knowing that You have my best interests at heart.