The joy was palpable; so much so it threatened to bust through the windows and flood the entire Chick-Fil-A drive thru line. Glancing into the rear-view mirror, I caught my son grinning from ear to ear. His eyes met mine and he exclaimed, “My heart is so happy!”
You may wonder the cause of such joy in the heart of a four-year-old boy. Could it be a sports victory, learning to ride his bike, or anticipation of celebratory chicken nuggets and fries? Although likely culprits, the source was something unexpected.
Noticing the line moving, I rolled forward to the triumphant shout, “Mom! I finally obeyed!” Friends, my son’s joy was a result of hard-fought obedience.
You see, for weeks he would cling tightly to his favorite toy in his bible study class, refusing to obey his teacher and put it away when it was time to do the next activity. Truthfully, I too have a hard time obeying God when He asks me to put something I love down to follow Him.
Despite my instruction and encouragement, every week he would hang his head in defeat. One day he confessed, “Mom, I just can’t obey. I wish I could put my sin in jail.” I knelt down beside him and said, “buddy, I cannot obey either. I desperately need Jesus. He is the only one who can change our hearts and help us obey Him. When we trust in Jesus, He puts our sin in jail!”
While I worked with my son at home to train him up in the way he should go, God’s grace was working on His heart to help him walk in His ways. Nothing warmed my heart more than the day I rounded the corner and he bounded up to greet me in victory!
That day, as we left the drive-thru window with our celebratory chicken in hand, I said, “Son, when we obey, God fills our hearts with an overflowing waterfall of joy.” With wisdom beyond his years, he added, “and sin freezes it!”
Friends, obedience is not meant to be burdensome. Sin is the real burden, freezing and stealing our joy. Frankly, we fear obedience might deprive us of something that will make us abundantly happy, yet we forget Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).
Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:10-11)."
As I share this today, I am greatly convicted over areas in my life where I struggle to obey. Heavenly Father, move in our hearts so we desire to do your will. By the power of your Holy Spirit, enable us to walk in obedience and experience the fullness of Your joy.
What is God asking you to lay down in obedience to Him today?
How can you step out in faith, knowing God will fill you with overflowing joy when you do?
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