There’s a big difference between doing something out of obligation, and doing something because you want to do it.
When we do something out of obligation, two things are true. One we don’t really want to do it, and two, it’s not something we would normally choose to do on our own.
Here’s what I mean. I make the bed
every most mornings. If I were a single man, this would not be the case. But I’m not a single man, and my wife likes things to be neat and clean. So I make the bed not because I want to, but because I love my wife and it makes her happy.
And you know what they say, happy wife happy life, and I want a happy life.
So I make the bed not because it is something I would normally do, but because it makes her happy.
I think this is how many of us view our relationship with God. We think things like going to church, or reading our bible, or giving our money, or serving people; is done because God wants us to do it. It’s not really because we necessarily want it for ourselves.
This is why it is so easy to miss out on truly living.
Jesus said that he came to give us life (John 10:10). Meaning there is something about life that we miss out on apart from Jesus.
And yet, we so often view our relationship with God as things we need to do to make him happy with us. Which means going to church is something we do for him, or going out of our way to serve someone is something we do for him, and certainly this must apply to giving our money, that’s got to be for him, right?
But what if it’s not for him? What if all these things we do thinking it’s what “God wants” isn’t because he wants it from us, but because he wants it for us? What if doing these things is actually designed for us to truly experience a joyful life?
God cares for and loves us. We were created to bring God glory. Honoring God with our lives will actually brings us joy, since that was what we were created for.
Kind of like playing a sport, or an instrument, or doing a hobby. When you do those things, it is not only fun for you but it gives you”life” in some small way.
Nothing we do is “for God.” Instead, we were created to give God glory and doing the things God has called us to do brings us life.
In other words, we are not doing God any favors. Instead he is simply inviting us to truly live. We can’t forget this.
Church, serving, community with others, living generously, etc. All of this is for us.
We all have experienced the joy of giving someone a gift. We hear stories all the time of those who travel to impoverished countries to help out in some way, and come home saying “I ended up getting way more than I gave.”
God loves you, which is why he wants you to experience joy. He doesn’t need any favors from you. Instead he wants you to truly live.