Why, when it can be so hard, do we bother to obey the Lord? This (with a good bit of editing and updating) is the answer Hannah Whitall Smith gave over 100 years ago:
“When we choose obedience, we bring joy to our Lord as well. Our deep love for him is perfectly reasonable, but the fact that he loves us so deeply is truly amazing! What does ‘loving him back’ look like? For one thing, it looks like obedience. Jesus told his disciples that the first and greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ (Mark 12:30). That commandment leads us to ask ourselves:
- Will we make him our greatest love?
- Will we follow him, even when there’s no apparent reward, even if following him leads to a life of separateness or suffering?
- Will we let him have complete control of all we are and all we have?
- And what if our Christian friends don’t agree with our level of devotion?
“Say, ‘Yes, Lord, yes!’ to each of these questions. Pour out all your devotion on our Lord. Give him your enthusiastic surrender, even if it upsets some of the more moderate Christians around you. Why should you care if some don’t understand your choice? An intimate friendship with Christ is both your duty and your joy. When Christ makes his ways known to us, we have the great privilege of walking in them.
“Your whole-hearted devotion is precious to the Lord. Perhaps others don’t approve, but he does, and that’s enough. Don’t hold back. Lay your whole life open to him and say each morning, ‘Lord, help me to live this day in a way that pleases you. Give me spiritual insight to discover your will. Guide my every step.’ Don’t let a day, or even an hour, go by in which you aren’t consciously following him.”
I’ve loved Hannah’s words for years. They challenge and console me. How do they strike you today?
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