Couches and Laws: How Obedience Leads to Joy

by Chelsea Mosher on July 21, 2020

We have a rule at our house: No jumping on the couch.

Recently, my husband texted me to fill me in on the latest happenings at our house while I was away.

"Eden has a fat lip. How's your day going?"

"Oh, no," I responded. "What happened?"

He sent me a one-word response: "Disobedience."

As it turns out, the rule of jumping on the couch isn't just for the benefit of keeping my couch springs intact, but it's also meant to keep my children safe, too.

They still may not understand why we put that rule into place, but the benefit of obedience is hopefully a little bit more clear to them: Not jumping on the couch lowers the risk of fat lips significantly.

God's Instructions are for Our Benefit

I sometimes have a hard time applying that same principle when it comes to my relationship with Jesus. Despite the promise of blessings and benefits in scripture, I can find all kinds of excuses for not obeying what he's asked me to do.

Whether the command is loving my neighbor, remembering to rest, removing idols from my life, or loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, my natural inclination is to be self-serving, self-sufficient, and self-centered.

But when I carefully read his Word, the only conclusion I can come to is that his ways are superior to mine. His commandments are for my benefit. His instruction provides clarity when the path ahead feels overwhelming. His law is right — perfect in every way, reviving the soul (Psalm 19:7).

The Bible gives us examples of the benefits of obeying God.

David, despite his mistakes, was repentant. And he was called a man after God's own heart.

Joseph was honorable, even in the most tempting circumstances. And God's presence was always with him.

Abraham obeyed God's call on his life, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice what was most precious to him. And he was made the father of a nation.

Jesus was obedient to God the Father, laying down his life because of his great love for us. He rescued the world from sin and condemnation.

Obedience to God's instructions brings us life, blessing, and joy (Psalm 119:1-2). They're for our benefit, keeping us pure (Psalm 119:9), making us more like Christ.

God's Instructions are Steadfast

God has several incredible characteristics that set him apart, one of them being his unending faithfulness. His instructions point to his steadfastness because they are unwavering, unchanging, and always good.

The same commandments that guided the hearts and minds of people like David, Abraham, Joseph, and Jesus still ring true for us today. We can stand amazed at the unchanging power of God. He is not moved by time, culture, or government. His Word remains the only thing we can truly trust because it will always be perfect. 

God has proven his Word is trustworthy over and over again. That trustworthiness, the faith we can have that what he promises is true, is something worth celebrating. Our current events might leave us wondering who we can trust, but history shows us that this sense of unrest is nothing new. Our trust and joy cannot lie in anyone other than the one perfect, eternal God and his Word.

Open Your Eyes to Wonderful Things

So how do we make the leap from knowing God's instructions to joyfully obeying them?

It comes down to a transformation of the heart. The closer we get to Jesus, the more we realize his deep love for us, despite our failures and sin. God's love compelled him to carry out a magnificent rescue plan (Ephesians 2:4-7), and his love compels us to love him in return, obedient to all he asks us to do.

If you're struggling to see God's provision, protection, and blessing in keeping his instructions, pray like the writer of Psalm 119:18, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." Then, experience the grace he has for you as he softens your heart and fills your spirit with a longing for his Word.

Tags: god, joy, psalms, law, obedience, instructions

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