Willing and obedient – these two words seem to be an obvious pair that should always go together. But I realised recently that this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes our obedience may be reluctant. In fact, I’m quite certain that obedience often requires some form of sacrifice from our side, and a laying down of our self and our desires, and could therefore bring with it a measure of reluctance.
Obedience is praiseworthy, even when it happens somewhat reluctantly. In Luke 5 we read how Jesus was teaching the multitude of people from Simon Peter’s boat on the lake of Gennesaret, and we read, ‘When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”. But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net”. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking’ (Luke 5:4-6). Peter’s obedience came rather reluctantly, as they had already washed their nets after a fruitless day of fishing. And yet, even his reluctant obedience brought about great blessing for him.
I do believe that, even though He blesses our reluctant acts of obedience, God is looking for willing obedience that flows from our love for Him. When you love someone and you are in relationship with them, you will gladly do certain things for them, even if it may require sacrifice on your part. Your focus is the value you place on your relationship, instead of the sacrifice it requires. God is pleased when we obey Him, but I think it brings joy to His heart when our obedience to His Word comes from a place of willingness and love.
Although I have found myself rather reluctantly obeying God in something He very specifically asked me to do recently, I experienced such a wonderful joy and peace, after pushing through, despite my own feelings of inadequacy. This experience affirmed God’s trustworthiness and faithfulness to me, and drew me into a deeper place of intimacy and trust with Him.
Willing obedience brings about blessing – ‘the good of the land’. Isaiah 64:5 says, ‘You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember Your ways’. Jesus said, ‘If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands’ (John 14:15, Amp). That settles it for me. Even though obedience to what God says in His Word, or prompts me to do by His Holy Spirit, comes at a price at times, I want to willingly obey, because I love Him and have learned to trust Him.
Prayer: Father, please forgive me for the times that my obedience has come from an unwilling and reluctant heart. I love You so much, and I want my obedience to You to always flow from a place of humility and complete trust. Thank You that You have blessed even my imperfect acts of obedience. Help me to gladly do right, and to remember that Your ways are perfect and good, in Jesus’ name.
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