Our detractor responds, "You're making this too complicated. God is our Father. We are His children. We just need to obey Him. It's like me and my son. He just needs to do what I say. Because he's my son, and I'm his dad. I tell him, 'Please clean up your room.' Then he needs to do it. If he doesn't, he's disobeying. Period."
And again, I agree as before. I'm not saying at all that if we simply don't feel like obeying God that that's any excuse for our disobedience. I'm actually upping the ante. I'm saying that we can do what God says, in one sense, and still be disobeying Him. I'm saying that we can "obey" on the outside and hate it. And I'm saying that that's not how the Bible presents Christ or the Christian life under the New Covenant to us. I'm saying that the New Testament authors speak to us like this: "You're His son; He's your Dad. You know Him! You've tasted His goodness! You know He's worthy to be loved with all your heart! Based on that relationship, obey joyfully!"
I agree that if you tell your son to clean his room and he doesn't do it, he's disobeyed. And nothing like, "Well, I didn't feel like it" excuses him. 100% agreed.
But here's the question: If he cleans his room -- and does all his other chores -- every time you ask him, but as he does them is grumbling, and thinking to himself about how you're such a slave driver, and how it's really annoying how you ask him to do things he doesn't wanna do all the time, and the only way to avoid trouble is to do what you ask... is he obeying then? Is it obedience for him to drag himself off the couch away from his TV, or computer, or X-Box, and to clean his room while thinking about how much he'd rather be doing something else?
I would say, "No way. He's not obeying at all."
And if even you would say he is obeying (after all, the room is getting cleaned up), can you honestly say, dear detractor, that as his father, you are honored by such "obedience"?
I'd have a hard time believing you'd say yes. And that's my point. God doesn't say yes either. He proclaims that He is more worthy and more satisfying, and more pleasant, and more beautiful than to be forced upon someone begrudgingly. "Obeying" God as if His commandments are burdensome is to disobey "obediently." Obeying God joyfully is actually finding Him to be as delightful as He is.
May God grant you and me a heart to delight in Him.
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.
- Isaiah 29:13 -
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.
- Psalm 40:8 -
My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me.
- John 4:34 -