Have you ever played one of those ice-breaker games that required you to remember names of many people you’re meeting for the first time?
One version of it goes something like “Hi! My name is James. Joyful James.”
You think of an adjective (a descriptive word) with the same first letter as your name and attach it in front of your name. The second person has to introduce him/herself and the first person. The third introduces him/herself and the first two. And this goes on until the last person in the group gets a turn.
My name starts with O and although I had played the game countless times, I had yet to think of an apt adjective beginning with O to describe myself.
Two Sundays ago, while playing the game, I was much enlightened when a stranger next to me gave me the adjective OBEDIENT.
In the weeks before that, I had been seeking the Lord to help me to obey Him. Hence, when I received the adjective obedient, I immediately recognised that it would be my new identity.
As I was waiting upon the Lord with my struggles, I realised that He wouldn’t force me to do what He wanted. Even when I had said, “Fine, I’ll do it if that’s what You want me to.” Yet, He knew that deep down inside, I wasn’t completely doing it out of my own free will.
He gave me the time and space to choose.
I was surprised.
God who is almighty and all powerful didn’t use His authority to dictate the path that I should take.
Instead, He walks together with me. By His grace I have Him working in my life but He has given me the responsibility of doing the walking. He does not do that for me.
On John Piper’s blog, he wrote that God does not simply require our obedience – regardless of the circumstance. He also delights in our obedience. And for us, this is good news. The obedience He loves is the obedience of faith. And faith means banking our hope on the mercy of God. God never desired a nation to be religiously obedient, or a nation which obeyed because it was forced. God desired a nation which obeyed because it hopes, trusts and loves God.
Piper encourages us that God desires the same for us, not because we must, but because we want to. As we enjoy Christ and His word, so Christ delights in us.
Deuteronomy 10:12–13 says, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
God delights in us receiving deep and lasting joy.
Isn’t this awesome?