the world people of various religions are acutely
aware of their
need of righteousness. This awareness often
results in strenuous efforts to be good,
to control the will, and to be what some would refer to
as "commandment keepers." Yet these sincere souls can only ever fail
for . . .
cannot transform himself by the exercise of the will.'
the Old Testament assures us, "neither can you do good who
are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23)
man can be obedient, he must understand that obedience is not
just something that the hand does, but something that the
heart is - for the hand only ever moves at the command of the
heart. We will appreciate, therefore, that true obedience can
never be the product of an overstrained will - it must be the
language of the heart, for . . .
obedience is the outworking of a principle within.' (COL97)
Himself told us that "from within, out of the heart of
men, proceed evil thoughts.' Mark 7:21. In like
fashion, therefore, it is out of the heart of men that right impulses and
right actions proceed.
tells us at the very outset that our great need is not for a
change in what we do, but a change in what we are - a change of heart - for
a heart that is governed by right principles will always spawn
multi-million dollar question, therefore, is what can we
do to ensure that our hearts are governed by right
of all, we must consider the words of Jesus when He
said, "without me ye can do nothing." Then we
need to consider the words of Paul, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
of which translates into the simple fact that we can do
anything with Jesus and that we can do nothing without Him.
This means that we can stop
focusing on what we do, and we can rather start focusing on Him. Then, being in
relationship with Him, and spending time with Him daily, we will find special
meaning in the words of Isaiah who once wrote . . .
eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those
who wait for Him. You come to the help of those who GLADLY DO
RIGHT." (Isaiah 64:5)
it good to know that we can reach a stage in our Christian
experience where we will "gladly do right"?
notice that if it is possible to "gladly do right,"
it must also be possible to "grudgingly do
right." I guess we could call these two conditions glad
obedience and grudging obedience, or, willing obedience and
we must ask, is unwilling obedience true obedience? Not at all! In
fact, unwilling obedience is no obedience at all for true
obedience always delights to be obedient. If we have to strain
our will in order to be obedient, our obedience is not the
product of the heart and, as such, it reveals that it is not
our inner desire to be obedient.
obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It
springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the
law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our
Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is
right - because right doing is pleasing to God.' (COL97)
of obedience, therefore, are the works of love, they are our
willing, spontaneous love offering to a God who first loved
us. As such, we will appreciate that . . .
works do not purchase the love of God, but they reveal that we
possess that love. If we surrender the will to God, we shall
not work in order to earn God's love. His love as a free gift
will be received into the soul, and from love to Him we
shall delight to obey His Commandments.' (COL283)
we love God, we will naturally love His law, for his law is
the perfect word picture of the character of God. Therefore,
if we genuinely love God, we will love to live in harmony with
His law, because this is how we live in harmony with God. It
is from this backdrop that we will appreciate that . . .
true obedience comes from the heart . . .
If we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts
and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His
will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our
own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its
highest delight in doing His service. When we know God
as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life
of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the
character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will
become hateful to us.' (DA668)
wonderful to know, therefore, that obedience does not spring
so much from the exercising of the will, as from the changing
of the character, and all that we have to do to have a changed
character is to get to know God for, . . .
learn of Christ means to receive His grace, which is His
While many might believe that they need to be obedient in
order to come to God, the truth is that we have to come to God
in order to be obedient - then he works in us in a wonderful
way, making us obedient by changing our desires and giving us
a whole new set of values and a whole new character that is
founded on the great law of love.
we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, we will be
changed. We won't strive to be obedient, we will desire to be
obedient and we will gladly do what is right. Then we will be
but "carrying out our own impulses" and it will be
our "highest delight" to do God's will.
to repeat, we can stop trying to be obedient, and we can
getting to know God, for . . .
is the knowledge of God that works transformation of
character. This knowledge received, will re-create the soul in
the image of God. It is this [knowledge of God] alone that can
make us like God in character. ' (MH425/409)
beholding Christ, by talking of Him, by beholding the
loveliness of His character we become changed. Changed from
glory to glory. And what is glory? Character.' (SD337)
where do we go from here? Straight to the word of God for, . . .
power, His very life, dwells in His word. As you receive the
word in faith it will give you power to obey. As you give heed
to the light you have, greater light will come. You are
building on God's word, and your character will be "builded
after the similitude of Christ." The life of Christ that
gives life to the world is in His word. The word of God,
received into the soul, moulds the thoughts, and enters into
the development of character. It is by beholding His love, by
dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become
partakers of His nature.' (MB150, DA390/1, DA389)
in our learning, not in our position, not in our numbers of
entrusted talents, not in the will of man is to be found the
secret of success. Feeling our inefficiency we are to
contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the strength of all
strength, the thought of all thought, the willing and obedient
will gain victory after victory.' (COL404).
longer do we have to ask ourselves how we can overcome our
weaknesses. There is only one question to be asked, and that
is, How much time are we spending alone with Jesus every day?
Love is a relationship, and a relationship demands time
together - time . . . alone . . .
this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.' (John 17:3)
have made you known to them, and will continue to make you
known IN ORDER THAT the love you have for me may be in them,
and that I myself may be in them.' (John 17:26)
And this heavenly love is the only influence in all the
universe that can make us want to obey. May God bless you as
you expose your heart to the sunshine of His love.
If you are
wondering what it is that is so good about the Good News then