Joy in Doing God’s Will

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.

Psalm 40:8

Undeniably, there are times when obeying God is hard, times when we’d much rather follow our own will than his. Even Jesus knew that experience as he wrestled with his Father’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Yet there are also other times, times when doing God’s will is easy, even delightful. In Psalm 40:8 we read, “I take joy in doing your will, my God.” The sense of the Hebrew verb translated here as “I take joy” is experiencing pleasure. We receive pleasure from knowing that we are doing that which honors and glorifies God. Moreover, when we do what’s right, we feel a sense of well-being that comes from achieving our life’s purpose. We have been put on this earth to live for God’s glory. When we do it, we feel joy.

In Psalm 40:8, David explains his delight in obeying God by adding, “for your instructions are written on my heart.” The Hebrew word translated as “heart” literally means “belly” or “bowels.” It was used much as we speak of the heart, as the physical location of emotions. In this verse, David is not saying only that his thinking has been shaped by God’s law, but also that his emotions have been honed by God’s instructions. Thus he feels happy when he acts according to God’s will.

I would love to get to the place in life where I truly delight in doing what pleases the Lord, even those things that are not easy for me right now.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced joy in obeying God’s will? When? What helped you to feel joyful? How might God’s truth be inscribed on your heart?

PRAYER: O Lord, as you know, sometimes I struggle to do your will. My flesh fights against you, desiring short-term pleasures rather than the long-term joy of obedience. But there have been other times when obeying your will has given me delight. I think especially of actions that have been hard for me. By your grace, I have been able to do what honors you, and this makes me very glad.

May your truth so shape my heart that I desire what’s right and despise what’s wrong. May I find even greater joy in obeying you. Amen.