Journal Entry // June 18, 2022
Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left,Joshua 23:6 ESV
Where is it that I find the struggle with being obedient and following all that is written in the holy Word of God? For the most part, it is not outright disobedience set to go explicitly against what is commanded. Though it is true that my heart does lead me down that path at times and my mind does consciously and knowingly disobey what is explicitly commanded. Most of the time though it is far more subtle. There is this slight veering and turning aside to the left or the right from the teaching of the Bible. There is a gradual mixing of the world into my thoughts and ideas and holy things. There is justification and defensiveness for taking a slight variation on the clear word of the Lord to me.
This is the subtle veering off the path of righteousness that ultimately leads me astray and wandering in the wilderness if I am not vigilant in my watch and honest with myself and God about the state of my heart, soul, and mind. It is a simple matter to begin mixing Biblical truth with the message that the world is sending me on a constant basis. My heart and soul longs for righteousness and obedience and the joy that only comes from Jesus himself. Yet there are pockets of pride and selfishness that still linger within. Areas of darkness that I have not quite finished eradicating and removing from my life. Areas in my mind that I don’t want to purge. Preferences in my personality that have “always” been there. Desires in my heart for those things that will lift me up in the eyes of others.
So the temptation is to dilute the Biblical truth in such a way that it makes me comfortable. Comfortable to lie to myself and to God and to others. Diluted in such a way that the bar of obedience is lowered until my understanding of obedience is a far cry from the Biblical truth of God’s commandment to be holy as he is holy. The truth to take up my cross daily and follow Jesus. The bar of obedience is high. There is no grading on the curve with holy obedience. There is no margin for excuses or defensiveness or rationale. There is only holy obedience.
Why is this difficult? It’s difficult because I have such a low view of Biblical truth. I find it difficult to believe the promises of Jesus that I will find true joy and happiness only through obedience. This is the message of Christ speaking to me. Am I listening to him or am I listening to the world and its message of consumption? Why do I more readily believe that the answer to happiness is a new house, or a new car, or a new phone, or a new whatever? Why do I think that if I am unhappy, that I should toss it all away and find my true self in the pleasures of this world and the fulfillment of my darkest desires. This is not the path of righteousness. The path to joy and happiness is only found in Jesus. And Jesus clearly tells me that if I love him… I will obey him.
Obedience is the key then. Obedience to the clear word of God for my life. This is where I will find the fruit of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the markers of true happiness. These are the attitudes that I am yearning for in my life. I cannot attain them in my own strength. I will only find them in my weakness and the strength of Christ. As I humble myself and as I think less and less of myself, I will find myself dwelling on the goodness of Christ. I will then cling to my Savior and find joy. True spiritual joy and happiness.