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Christian Living

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Grin and Grow with Kathy 10/11/17

Painful Disobedience or Delightful Obedience?

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STORY: Fire Ants Vs. Jazzy

Jazzy, our silly smart Boston Terrier, often has a will of her own. After Hurricane Harvey, I struggled to get her to obey my lead when I leash-walked her. She wanted to go her own way. She didn’t realize my insistence on doing things my way wasn’t to deny her joy, but to protect her from what she didn’t know could hurt her.

Because of the 51-inches of rain, the fire ants reorganized their homes and built hills up higher, higher, higher! Jazzy didn’t even notice them and wanted to plow right through them. It was as if she was in flight or fight mode—just pulling as hard as possible on the harness to go straight, despite the obstacles. She had doggy Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I warned her as we approached a fire ant hill, but she didn’t listen. I had to take immediate action to prevent her from serious injury. I’ve heard of an entire fire ant community killing a cow, so they could make quick work of little ol’ Jazz-ma-tazz!

I had to yank on the leash hard. The harder I pulled, the more she resisted. It was a battle of the wills. Or in our case, a battle of the Willises! One time, I had to scoop her up to protect her from those destructive fire ants.

I don’t think she even realized I was protecting her.

I wonder how many times God wants me to obey Him, and I struggle to do my own thing? How He must delight when I don’t question Him, but simply trust that Father knows best. If I think I know what’s best for others, how much more does God know what’s best for me?

STUDY: The Father Delights in Our Obedience

Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. (Psalm 112:1 NLT)

  • What action and attitude steps are mentioned here?
  • Which one is hardest for you?

I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. (Psalm 119:16 NLT)

  • What does it mean to delight in God’s decrees? (What are decrees?)
  • Have there ever been times when you forgot God’s Word and had to remind yourself of it in order to have different attitudes or actions?

How I delight in your commands! How I love them! (Psalm 119:47 NLT)

  • How many times have you been so excited about commandments that you could use exclamation points to declare your love and delight?
  • What would it take to get you to the point where you truly love and delight when God commands you to do something through His Word or His Spirit?

Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight. (Psalm 119:77 NLT)

  • What does this verse mean to you? If you are in a difficult circumstance right now, imagine God’s tender mercies surrounding you. The psalmist adds, “so I may live.” Does it feel like you might die without His tender mercies?
  • With that in mind, does that help you delight in His instructions?

Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. (Psalm 119:111 NLT)

  • Do you treasure God’s laws?
  • What does your heart take delight in? (Be honest!)

O Lord, I have longed for your rescue, and your instructions are my delight. (Psalm 119:174 NLT)

  • The word “rescue” holds a whole new meaning to me after seeing all the rescues going on around me as I survived Hurricane Harvey. Take some time to recall a real-life rescue you’ve witnessed or experienced. Now think about God coming to your rescue. What do you want Him to rescue you from?
  • Once you’ve been rescued by the Lord, it’s easier to listen to His instructions and actually delight in them, because you know He cares. What instructions are you hearing right now?

O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways. (Proverbs 23:26 NLT)

  • What part of your heart are you holding back from God?
  • Why do you think this proverb mentions your eyes taking delight? How do eyes delight in following God’s ways?

When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. (Jeremiah 15:16 NLT)

  • I love this passage in Jeremiah. When I devour something, I savor every bite and can’t get enough of it. Am I like that with God’s Word?
  • Take time to turn this passage into a prayer, and speak it to God. Let it become your identity as you bear His name.

STEPS: At Your Service

  1. Delight in obeying God and then live it out toward others. As you obey God’s Word, you will learn love in a whole new way. Not just love to God and from God, but love for each other. “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:10 NLT)
  2. Make up a song and sing it to God (Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear!). “Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting!” (Psalm 147:1 NLT)

As we end this word study on DELIGHT, remember this:

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

Copyright © 2017 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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