The Kind Of Obedience That Pleases God

“Not only did Jesus do the will of the Father, not only was that His whole goal in life, but Psalm 40:8 tells us that He delighted to do the will of the Father. To become like Jesus, then, is to come to the place where we delight to do the will of God, however sacrificial or unpleasant that will may seem to us at the time, simply because it is His will.” — Jerry Bridges

God doesn’t want us merely to serve him; how we serve him matters.

God commands us to serve him with gladness. He loves cheerful givers and wholehearted servants.

God isn’t pleased when we serve him with clenched teeth or grumbling in our hearts.  It doesn’t bless him when our attitude is okay God, I’ll do what you want, but I won’t be happy about it.  If I were God I’d probably say at times, “If it’s so tedious and miserable to serve me then don’t bother.”

We’re all tempted to serve the Lord joylessly. It might be going to our small group at the end of a long day. Or playing with our kids  when we’d rather relax. Or caring for that weak believer at an inconvenient time.

How we need the power of the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord with gladness.

By the power the Holy Spirit, we can find delight in blessing our enemies. We can enthusiastically care for that constantly needy person. By the power the Holy Spirit we can give generously even when we’re tight, and pour out our lives for others when we’re tired.

So pray! Ask the Lord to help you delight to do his will.

Whatever it is, no matter how difficult it is, Remember what God requires he empowers us to do. When we ask God to help us delight to do his will, and then step out in faith and obey, he changes our hearts. Remember, God is out to make you like Jesus, who delighted to do his will. And God will not fail.

  • Guest

    Can I ask a question? I know this might seem out-of-place and you have every right to delete my comment. I've been reading your blog for some time now so I trust your opinion. Lately I have been thinking about guarding my heart. Would you suggest that a married woman only be emotionally intimate with her husband? That if they together felt a problem needed more attention they seek help together in the form of a Christian counselor or Pastor. I know I've shared intimate details of my life with people on-line and they care for maybe a week but they are not emotionally connected to me and stop communicating with me and it really hurts my heart emotionally. I'm tired of hurting my heart emotionally. I think I need to guard my heart and only share things with my husband. Would you agree?

    • Mark Altrogge

      Dear Guest,

      Generally, I would suggest a wife be emotionally intimate with her husband, and definitely not with strangers or casual friends on the internet. Depending on the situation, it might be good to go with your husband to your pastor or Christian counselor – in some cases it could be appropriate to share with a trusted female Christian friend or friends. But you want to be careful to protect the reputation of your husband and I'd encourage you that if you do go to someone else, to be talking with your husband about it. These are just general suggestions; what to do might vary depending on circumstances.

  • http://www.RedBarnChurch.org Brian

    Wouldn't it be "the kind of obedience that pleases God THE MOST!"? I WANT all my obedience to flow from a conscious delight in His will that flows out of a constant gladness in Him. It's a battle. I guess that's why you're telling us to pray. While I certainly don't advocate teeth-clench obedience, I need the Holy Spirit to unclench my teeth sometimes, and I need to be reminded that it is only because of Jesus' wholehearted delight in doing the Father's will, that I can know I am forgiven when I don't delight as I should, and that I can ask for His help to delight in it like He did.

    In fact, I wonder if the obedience that springs from the kind of repentance and dependence that forces us to recognize the failure and weakness, and rely on God power and the grace of the gospel, is an obedience that is most easily identified as "fruit of the Spirit" (it took His power to do it!). Sometimes what most looks like delight in His will, could really just be a pleasant and compliant heart that doesn't always NEED to consciously trust, cry out, and depend upon Him.

    Spirit warring against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit. Ugh! Maranatha!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Great comments, Brian! I appreciate your bringing in repentance and dependance. I agree, the kind of obedience that pleases him Most might be a better title, though it could be debated that obedience with grumbling and complaining doesn't please God at all, which is why I titled it the way I did. At any rate, we can only please God by complete dependence upon his power. And you're right – it probably can be called fruit of the Spirit to obey with gladness. Thanks for your comments!

  • Elaine

    Great reminder as I head off to clean the bathrooms – again! :)

    Thanks for the encouragment, Mark; that's one of my prayers – to serve Him and people with joy and gladness.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks Elaine! Well, you could have fooled me. You are one of the most cheerful servants of Jesus I know. Guess we all struggle at times….

  • http://www.jottinmama.blogspot.com Katie

    I love everything about this. Amen.

    I've been struggling with this whole thing…with the 'wanting to'. My teeth are clenched and my heart is grumbling. I have such a lack of compassion. That's a problem.

    You are so right. It all comes from Him. All of it. The desire to pray. The desire to serve. Even faith itself comes from Him. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

    Oh Lord, help me with the 'wanting to'. Make my desires Yours – let me have some joy in it…some gladness, yes!

    Great post for me today.

    Thanks,
    Kate :)

    • Mark Altrogge

      You're welcome, Kate. Thanks for your humility. And I know the Lord is going to do the things you ask him!