Obedience Yes…Happiness No

Sometimes I stumble across a website where I admire the author’s work. Perhaps I feel a connection because we have similar backgrounds or maybe we are going though a certain stage in our lives and God uses their work to touch me. One such person is Janna at Bread Crumbs. I love to read her work…and she always evokes much thought when I read her blog/devotional. She is open and transparent…has a high or proper view of God and is spot on in her theology. She loves God…and people too.

On a recent visit to her blog…found an article in which she talked about her occasional struggle about not wanting to go to church on Sunday. When struck by that temptation…she did in fact go to church out of obedience to God. She put God first, not her feelings.

Occasionally I’ve done the same thing. I wake up on Sunday morning…and for whatever reason…I’m not feeling good…or I’m too tired…and I think “Gee wiz…I don’t feel like going to church today.” But when I lay back down I can’t fall asleep. I’m restless and try as I may…sleep evades me. So I get up, get ready and go to church. Each time when I’ve struggled with that desire and but choose instead to obey God instead…I am thankful that I did. Choosing to obey God’s command that we not forsake the assembling of one another.

The few times I’ve allowed the part of me that wants to withdrawal and stay home to win…I find it very empty. I don’t have my emotional and spiritual tanks filled for the week ahead. Even if I listen to a ministry or two on the TV or radio…it’s not the same as being in church.

The people on the TV or radio don’t know me…they don’t care about me…and they don’t hold me accountable. There is no interaction with those I care about. No hugs from Al…no bugging Mike, Norm and Merilynne at the tape table. There is no Ruth and prayer team to greet Kindred members and follow up on the prayer requests that they’ve so diligently prayed for. There are no hugs for my favorite Kindred girls Ramona and Lisa…and no updates from Doreen on the latest happenings at the Apple household. The worship is just not as sweet unless it’s in person when led by the likes of David, Lou, Kristal and Dave. I’m not moved as much by some anonymous choir as I am when I see my beloved Kindred choir raising their voices in praise to Christ Jesus.

Bottom line…I’m not spiritually equipped for the battle ahead. I don’t enjoy the time…in fact I feel guilty. Not guilt from God per say….but guilt because I knew the right thing to do…but intentionally chose to override the right thing…and replace it with that which is wrong. Those times I’ve chosen to stay home…not because I’m sick…but just because I don’t feel like going to church are the times where I’ve put myself over God. When I have a high view of Susan…which is in essence a low view of God which allows me to put my will over and above God’s will?

I think that when Satan tires the hardest to keep me from church is the time I need to be there the most. Those times when God has a message that He has prepared for me. Something special…to minister to or correct me when and where I need it most.

I find it amusing and self deceptive when I hear a Christian’s taking a wrong action and then try to justify it by saying “But God wants me to be happy!” The truth be told…that’s not accurate. God desires our obedience over our happiness any day of the week.

That’s not to say that God does not want us to be happy. To be more precise…God desires that we will have joy in the Him. When our joy is in the Lord…happiness may be a result thereof. But more importantly…when we delight ourselves in God…we will more likely be obedient to His will and calling on our lives. He desires that we put Him first…that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind soul and strength. The second is like unto it…that we love others as ourselves. It’s hard to do that when I only watching TV preachers or listening to ministries on the radio.

When I do that…I do have joy and peace with God…and indeed that contentment and happiness is not dependent on my circumstances.

Not only do we deprive ourselves of fellowship with other believers when we fail to go to church…but we are not a contributing member to our local body of Christ when we stay home.

Don’t get me wrong…I love the amazing resources that are available to the church of Christ today. We have an amazing plethora of ministries available to Christians and others today. Most definitely we should partake…but not if it means that we will forsake the assembling of one another in corporate worship of Jesus Christ.

Obedience to God’s word will spare us from suffering the result of our sin and living in regret. No matter what hard times we encounter…we have the unbroken fellowship of God and fellow Christians when we walk in obedience to Christ.

God desires our obedience over us being happy. He wants us to have joy…to take joy and delight in Him…our Lord Christ Jesus. A natural by product of that joy of the Lord will be living lives that are clean and don’t bear the weight and burden of sin from bad choices outside of God’s will for our lives.

No where have I seen God declare that he wishes for me to be happy. Especially being happy at the expense of obedience to His word. But I do see instruction from God that I am to delight in Him and obey Him. Through His grace and mercy and my obedience to His call I will one day enter into the joy of my master.

Daily I can choose…obedience God and His word…or choose Susan’s happiness as I put my feelings over and above Christ. One will result in joy, peace and eternal rewards that will never fade. One will result in temporary happiness that easily fades and is dependent upon my circumstances and whims of my fickle feelings.

Uhhh…”choose this day Whom you will serve!” The Lord or me…will I choose wisely today? Will I recognize my choices for what they are? If I choose to serve me and my feelings…how am I any different than the rest of an unbelieving world?

I need to be mindful…on my own power I will always choose me. But through the power of the Holy Spirit living within me…when I yield to Him…I will choose wisely. “Choose this day Whom you will serve!” Lord I choose You!

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