A woman was married to a tyrant of a husband. He didn't like the way she kept house. He didn't like the way she ran the home. He didn't like the way she dressed. He constantly criticized her for everything.
One day he handed her a list of 25 rules for her to follow. Oh, how she hated him!
You can imagine how frustrating it was to her to have to constantly check her list to see if she was pleasing him, and to stay out of trouble. She usually failed miserably, and each time she got a tongue-lashing.
Then one day, much to her great joy, the abusive husband died.
Soon she fell in love with and married a wonderful, loving husband. They loved each other very much. She practically broke her neck to please him -- and even brought him breakfast in bed!
One day she ran across that old list, and the hatred for her old husband returned. But suddenly, she began to laugh! As she checked every item on the list, she realized that she was now doing all of these for her new husband and many more. And she did it with great joy because she loved him.
This was a great revelation to her, and for us it demonstrates a great spiritual truth concerning our relationship with God.
There are many people who serve God and keep His commandments out of fear that He is a brutal tyrant, like that husband, just waiting for an excuse to punish us. It is important for us to fear God, in the sense of reverence and respect, but not fear of some potential oppression from Him. God does not abuse His children.
The apostle Paul called such a legalistic keeping of rules a "yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1, KJV), or "slavery to the law" (NLT).
John tells us, "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3, NIV). John summarizes God's commands to us under the New Covenant: "This is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us (1 John 3:23, NIV).
The key is understanding God's great loving nature and how much He loves us, so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us. When we understand that, then our service to Him will be with joy.
If you are obeying God and serving Him with joy, it's because you understand and accept His great love for you.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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