Obedience is one of those words that has a negative connotation, more often than not. Something you are forced to do, submitting your will to another's. A choice to comply or defy, and rebelling looks way more fun than following the rules laid out before you.
But what if you felt delight in obeying? How would that change your perception of the role of obedience in your life?
To Delight in the Law
From the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of delight is:
de·light /dəˈlīt/ (verb) please (someone) greatly.
Maybe the word delight evokes enjoyable memories of fun and pleasure in the simple things in life. A cool breeze on a sunny day. The first juicy bite of a freshly picked fruit.
But delight in obeying a command?
My face puckered up, and I arched an eyebrow in skepticism when I sat in church and heard the pastor quote Psalm 1:2.
"[Blessed is the one] whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who mediates on his law day and night."
Delight hadn't been something I thought of in a while, dealing with the effects of a pandemic and the stress of its impact on my piece of the world. But this sermon caught my attention, and it refused to let me go.
Delight in the law? Really?
When the pandemic struck, I started seeing puppies everywhere. In fact, this widespread epidemic got its own name: COVID Puppies.
Well, I wasn't immune to the cute-animal-fever going around, and you guessed it, we opened our home to a new dog.
Now, a year later, I am self-training my fuzzy bundle of energy to become a productive doggie citizen (instead of a master of chaos) while gnawing on this idea of delighting in the law.
Sit. Stay. Come.
And then it hit me. Delight.
There is something beautiful in seeing your dog understand you. To see their mind connect the dots and obey a command. And your surge of delight as you reward them when they get it right over and over and over again.
My delight spills out and becomes their delight, growing exponentially between the two of us as fur flies from our celebratory delight in one another. And it all started from obeying my command.
And why do I compel my dog to delight in obeying me?
Because these commands will keep my dog out of trouble. It will decrease her anxiety and stress by learning to trust me as the leader of our pack. And it might one day save her life from a danger she does not perceive.
And that's how God sees me. A child He delights in as I trust and obey His commands.
It puts obedience in a new light to me.
How about you? Have you discovered how the persistent grit in teaching a dog (or a child) can bring great joy and delight to your household? Think about that the next time you are mulling over how one can delight in the law.