The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Obedience
The Benefits of Playing by the Rules
Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.
Here is a simple promise from God. Those who walk in the way of wisdom will be blessed. The word listen means to hear and to obey. After all, any fool can hear the truth, but the truth means nothing until it has penetrated the heart and changed the way you live. A thousand sermons on purity won’t keep you from a tragic mistake until you set your heart to obey God’s command.
A friend pressed a cartoon into my hand just before a worship service. Because it was a long day and I was busy, I didn’t get a chance to look at it until Monday. The cartoon strip is called “Hagar the Horrible.” It shows a short, squatly Viking laboring up a steep, snow-covered mountain. As he nears the top, he cries out, “What is the key to happiness?” The wise man answers, “Abstinence, poverty, fasting and celibacy.” With a crestfallen look, the Viking shouts, “Is there anyone else up there I could talk to?”
Good question. All of us would like it if there were someone else “up there” who would tell us what we really want to hear-that life is basically easy, that the key to happiness is self-indulgence, that you can take shortcuts and still make it to the top.
As I ponder the matter, the following facts seem true to me:
- Life is hard.
- Even the best days are filled with difficulty.
- We’re all secretly looking for “someone else” to tell us what we want to hear.
- Abstinence, poverty, fasting, and celibacy are not much fun-but they bring more lasting joy than their opposites.
- Happiness isn’t found in self-indulgence.
- In general, happiness isn’t “found” at all.
- Happiness comes as a by-product of other things.
- There is little, if any, correlation between leisure, luxury, and happiness.
- Obedience won’t necessarily make you happy, but disobedience will definitely disappoint you in the end.
On the campus of the Moody Bible Institute there is a small plaque on the brick wall of one of the dormitories. This is what it says: “Near this spot in the spring of 1889 Dwight L. Moody knelt in prayer and asked God for this land on which to build a Bible school.” Underneath are the words of 1 John 2:17 from the King James Version: “He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
Was D. L. Moody a happy man? Historians tell us that he was a jovial, gregarious man whose heart burned with a passion to win the lost to Jesus Christ. His life stands as a testimony that the happiest people on earth are those who seek and find the will of God. If you seek happiness, you will never find it; if you seek to do the will of God, you will find more happiness by accident than most people find on purpose.
Lord God, I want to do Your will more than anything else. If that is not true of me, do whatever it takes to make it true. Amen.
Do you agree that happiness is a by-product of doing the will of God? How does your life match up with that principle? What act of obedience have you been putting off? What are you going to do about it?
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