Did you hear the story about the little boy who was standing up on a pew during the church service? His parents spent much of the service trying to convince the little boy to sit in his seat, so as not to distract those around them. Finally the parents threatened the boy with a significant consequence for his disobedience and inappropriate behavior that would be delivered to his bottom-side immediately following the service. Now, sitting and squirming in his seat, the little boy whispered to his parents, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside!”
Did you know there is an obedience that is odious to Omnipotence? It is obedience that is done simply for the sake of obedience. It is done out of fear of the consequences of not doing it. It’s done out of guilt and obligation and duty. It’s done out of a desire to receive some reward in return. This is not the kind of obedience Jesus rendered to His Father, and it is not the kind of obedience we are to render either.
I desire (delight) to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
Because Jesus was perfect, we see perfect obedience as an obedience that is desired—obedience that is delighted in. Jesus did what He did because He both desired and delighted in pleasing His Father. It was never enough for Jesus simply to do the right thing. His obedience was never rooted in fear, guilt or a desire to gain some reward. He did the right thing for the right reasons. His outward obedience was firmly rooted in an inward desire and delight to do His Father’s will. It sprang from a heart that was beating with a desire and delight to please His Father in heaven.
I always please the Father. (John 8:29)
All too often, you and I are like the little boy, sitting down in outward obedience but standing up in internal rebellion. Our obedience is stained with mixed motives and selfish desires. And that is why we must continually preach the Gospel to ourselves. Jesus delighted in His obedience, even His obedience on the cross, and that should make all the difference in the world to us. Jesus delighted in taking our sin. He delighted in taking our guilt. He delighted in taking our punishment. (Can you truly wrap your mind around that? He delighted in taking God’s wrath!) He delighted in taking our death.
Viewed in that indescribable light, is there anything too hard for us to do for Jesus? When we keep the truths of the Gospel front and center in our lives, our hearts will beat with desire and delight to do His will! Remembering not only what Jesus has done for us, but why He did it—from birth to death—empowers us to live like Jesus lived: obedient to the will of the Father out of a heart filled with delightful desire. And when we fall short of the mark, we rest in the truth that we are clothed in His righteousness . . . not only forgiven by the Father, but delighted in too!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!