Delighting to Do God’s Will
TO DELIGHT to do God’s will means to have keen enjoyment, great pleasure and real satisfaction in doing it. It means doing God’s will not only willingly, but eagerly, enthusiastically. Doing God’s will in a perfunctory, negative or grumbling manner will never win us his approval and his reward of everlasting life in the new world; for only if we delight in doing that will shall we be able to do it in the best possible manner, to the fullest extent, and be able to persevere in doing it in spite of all the temptations the Devil and his agents may bring.
There was a time when all God’s intelligent creatures delighted to do his will. Then a covering cherub let selfish ambition rob him of that delight and he succeeded in inducing our first parents to lose their delight in doing God’s will. Many have followed their example, such as Lot’s wife, the murmuring multitude of Israelites in the wilderness and King Saul.
In striking contrast with all such is the example given to us by Christ Jesus. In his prehuman existence, from his very creation, he brought daily delight to his Father because of always rejoicing before him as he served as a “master workman” and Logos or “Word”. (Prov. 8:22-30, AS; John 1:1-3; Rev. 3:14, NW) And when God’s will for the Logos indicated leaving his glorious spirit existence and coming to earth to live as a human among imperfect, unfavorable and even antagonistic surroundings, the Logos did not lose his delight in doing God’s will. When, as the man Jesus, he came to Jordan to dedicate himself to the doing of God’s will the disposition of his heart still was the same: “Lo, I am come; in the roll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.”—Ps. 40:7, 8, AS; Heb. 10:7-9, NW.
Jesus eagerly and zealously pushed forward in doing his Father’s will. It was his very food for him. “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34, NW) Ever alert, he preached early and late; he had a consuming zeal for his Father’s cause.—Mark 6:30-34; Luke 21:38; John 2:17; 3:2, NW.
What gave Jesus that delight in doing God’s will? It was ‘having God’s law within his heart’. That law consists primarily of the two great commandments: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength,” and, “you must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30, 31, NW) Having those commandments in his heart meant not only that he was familiar with them but that he was concerned about obeying them.
Having that love for his heavenly Father Jesus considered it a real joy to be able to vindicate his Father’s name by keeping integrity under test, and that is why he gladly gave up all he had to become the head of the kingdom that will completely vindicate Jehovah’s name by destroying all his enemies. (Job, chapters 1 and 2; Prov. 27:11; Matt. 13:45, 46; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 12:2, NW) So, even though God’s will meant physical and mental suffering and a criminal’s death, Jesus continued to do it with delight. Never did he grumble, complain, find fault or feel sorry for himself.
LOVE CAUSES DELIGHT
Are we imitating the example Jesus set of continuing to do God’s will with delight? No doubt about it, when we first heard of the truth, it was so wonderful, so beautiful, so comforting, so satisfying, so new, so different, so just and reasonable, we literally fell in love with it, did we not? Under the impulse of that first love (not the fear of torment nor the desire for selfish gain) we dedicated ourselves to the doing of God’s will, saying as did Jesus, “I delight to do thy will, O my God.”
But the question arises as time goes on, Are we still having that same warm first love, that same keen appreciation, that same enthusiasm, that same delight in doing God’s will? Or are we losing our appreciation, is our first love cooling off? To guard against this danger Paul wrote the Hebrew Christians: “Keep on remembering the former days in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great contest under sufferings.”—Heb. 10:32, NW.
If, like Jesus, we have the law of God in our hearts, are concerned about obeying the two great commandments, our appreciation will not lessen, our love will not cool off. And if we appreciate who God Jehovah really is, what he has done for us, is doing for us and will yet do for us, our gratitude will cause us to do God’s will with delight. Why, the very fact that we have the opportunity of expressing our appreciation and gratitude by doing God’s will should bring us delight! What he requires of us is not burdensome.—1 John 5:3, NW.
Appreciation of what doing God’s will accomplishes will also help us to do it with delight. Just think of it! The great Jehovah, the Almighty One, the Most High, the King of Eternity, the Creator of all things and the Fountain of life, says to us, each one of us, imperfect creatures of clay, mere specks on a speck: “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.”—Prov. 27:11.
Love for our neighbor likewise gives us delight in doing God’s will, for having love for our neighbor we will delight to bring him the comfort he so much needs. And when we consider that by working hard and long, with tact and patience, we can put our neighbor in the way of living forever in the wonderful and beautiful new world of righteousness, how can we help having delight in helping him?
Not only will love cause us to delight to help our neighbors, who are persons of good will not yet dedicated to Jehovah God, by giving them an understanding of Jehovah God and his purposes, but it will also make us delight in doing God’s will regarding our neighbor who is working in the harness with us, as it were, making known the good news of the Kingdom. To the extent that we show mercy, to the extent that we try to be truly helpful to our brothers, to that extent our delight in doing God’s will will increase. But the unloving harboring of a grudge against our brother will rob us of our delight in doing God’s will and may also diminish the delight of another.—Lev. 19:18; Prov. 11:17; Heb. 12:15, NW.
FAITH ALSO REQUIRED
Jesus’ delight in doing his Father’s will was based, not only upon his perfect love for God and his neighbor, but also upon strong faith. At all times he had an abiding confidence in his heavenly Father. He knew that God would sustain him and reward him for his faithfulness. (Heb. 5:7) And so with us. To have delight in doing God’s will we must also have strong faith. The murmuring multitude in the wilderness lacked faith. Ostensibly they were doing God’s will, but the bad report of the ten spies revealed that they had no delight in doing it. Their lack of delight was due to their lack of faith in the power of Jehovah God. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, had faith that God was with them and that they could take the land. They delighted to do God’s will. (Num. 13:21 to 14:38) David, having faith in God, manifested a delight in doing God’s will, both in going out against Goliath and later in warring against the Philistines. How different was his course from that of faithless King Saul! (1 Sam. 13:8-15; 15:4-35; 17:1-54; 1 Chron. 14:8-17) Only if we have strong faith that Jehovah God will sustain us and reward us shall we be able to do his will with delight.—Isa. 54:17; 1 Cor. 10:13; 15:58; Heb. 11:6, NW.
Yes, if our faith in Jehovah’s vindication and his new world is strong we will delight to do his will. Then we will not look back longingly to the things left behind. Remember that no one who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back is well fitted for the Kingdom. Looking back may prove fatal, as in the case of Lot’s wife. She started fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah with her family, but she had no delight in thus obeying God’s command, for in spite of his warning she looked back, to her eternal destruction.—Luke 9:62; 17:32, NW.
Why look back? What has the world to offer? It even admits that with it “familiarity breeds contempt” and that “anticipation is greater than realization”. Those who follow its course are doomed to disappointment; and no question about it, the more one becomes acquainted with its commerce, religion and politics, the more contempt one has for these. Motivated by fear or desire for selfish gain it has no true delight in its work, and so seeks to escape reality by pursuing pleasures. It ridicules the Bible as impractical, but its worries and cares catch up with its pleasure seekers, landing ever more of them in mental institutions or in untimely graves.
But those proverbs do not apply to the Theocracy, to the truths, the associations and the organization that are in line with God’s principles of truth and righteousness as found in the Bible. Serving God brings even now a hundredfold reward, while the new world blessings awaiting those delighting to do God’s will simply cannot be exaggerated; realization will far outstrip anticipation. (Isa. 65:17-25; Mark 10:29, 30, NW) And the better we become acquainted with the truth, with our fellow servants and with God’s organization, the greater our respect, our appreciation, our love for these. So let us not manifest weak faith by taking our eyes off the worth-while things of the Theocracy and fastening them on the worthless things of Satan’s system and thus lose our delight in doing God’s will.—2 Cor. 4:4, NW.
We must also exercise faith in God’s merciful provision of Christ’s ransom for the covering of our sins and shortcomings if we would have delight in doing God’s will. We cannot continually be looking back on the mistakes we made and be whipping ourselves by going over these again and again and expect to have delight in doing God’s will. If we fall, let us rise again, asking God’s forgiveness through Christ’s merit; and then, forgetting the past, let us press on with the work at hand. (1 John 2:1-3, NW) Dismiss wounded pride and vanity, let stumbling stones become steppingstones, and exercise faith in God’s mercy.
RESULTS OF DELIGHT
The extent to which we engage in God’s service will depend in no small degree upon our delight in doing God’s will. Continually opportunities of service present themselves to God’s ministers today, even as they did to Christ Jesus when he was on earth, some great, some small. However, unless we delight to do God’s will we shall fail to see many of them or will take a disparaging view of the smaller opportunities. Delight in doing God’s will enables us to be faithful in that also which is least.—Luke 16:10, NW.
Delight in doing God’s will results in increasing not only the quantity of our service but also its quality. An artist, doctor or lawyer that delights in his chosen profession will be ever seeking to improve his skills and abilities, resulting in his getting still more delight therefrom. The same will also be true of us. If we delight in doing God’s will we will be on the alert to improve our ministry by taking advantage of all the means provided by Jehovah God through his “faithful and discreet slave” so that we can give good comments at the study meetings, bear witness effectively in the field and take care of platform assignments in a way that will bring honor to Jehovah’s name and will edify the listeners.
If we are lacking in delight in doing God’s will we will find ourselves ever ready to pounce on an excuse for not doing it. Then we will, as it were, let the wind keep us from sowing, the clouds keep us from reaping, and the fear of a lion in the streets keep us indolently indoors. (Prov. 22:13; Eccl. 11:4) Then, like the murmuring multitude of Israelites in the wilderness, we will magnify every obstacle that comes our way.
But if we delight in doing God’s will we will ever be on the alert to overcome such obstacles. Note our brothers in totalitarian lands. They are not easily discouraged. Hard circumstances may tax their ingenuity, may try their faith and test their love, but find a way they will to keep on giving the witness. As time goes on we may expect such unfavorable circumstances to become more widespread; unless we delight to do the will of God we shall surely lose out.
A wife and mother who does her household duties in a cheerless, reluctant or negative manner, or who feels sorry for herself, is actually casting reproach upon her husband. If we lack in delight in doing God’s will, if we grumble or complain, if we feel sorry for ourselves, if we are inclined to make unfavorable comparisons between our lot and that of another, then we likewise are casting reproach upon our Caretaker and Provider, Jehovah God. It will help us in this respect if we appreciate that we dedicated ourselves to Jehovah God, that we are in a personal relationship with him, that he took notice of our dedication; that he knows and understands, and that if he permits a certain situation to continue he has wise and loving reasons for doing so and therefore we should delight to serve in spite of such.
We dedicated ourselves to serve Jehovah of our own free will. We were not compelled, nor coerced, no, not even coaxed or urged. We went on record as delighting to do God’s will. Only if we continue to delight in doing it shall we be able to do it to the fullest extent, in the most effective manner and keep on doing it in spite of temptations and persecutions. A keen appreciation of what doing God’s will accomplishes, based upon love for God and our neighbor, will enable us to keep that delight. Having entered God’s service by saying, ‘I delight to do your will,’ let us continue therein with delight, for only if we delight in doing God’s will now will God give us the privilege of doing his will throughout eternity.