Charles Stanley (December-03-2022) Daily Devotional: Reluctant Obedience
God doesn't just want our obedience; He wants us to obey with loving, glad hearts.
Have you ever resisted obeying God because His instructions were something you didn’t want to do? That was the case with Jonah. The inhabitants of Nineveh were Assyrians, a people known for aggression and cruelty. Since they were enemies of Israel, Jonah thought he had good reason to resist the Lord’s command to preach to them.
While the goal was to draw the Ninevites to repentance through Jonah’s preaching, the Lord was also working to change the prophet’s unloving spirit—Jonah did not want that hostile people to experience divine grace and forgiveness. Though he eventually obeyed and went to Nineveh, his heart didn’t change.
The same thing can happen to us. It’s possible to go through the motions of obedience while harboring resentment, anger, and a rebellious spirit. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing) warns us that even our greatest acts of sacrificial obedience, done without love, profit us nothing. God wants more than begrudging compliance; He wants us to do His will from the heart (Eph. 6:6 - not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.).
The next time you’re reluctant to obey the Lord, ask Him to change your heart. He wants His children not simply to obey but to delight in doing His will.