“And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.” – 2 Chronicles 25:2
This statement describes the heart posture of King Amaziah, who was one of the Kings of Judah. If you read his story, you’ll learn that he was a good king for a while and did what was right in the Lord’s eyes. He conquered the Edomites and led Judah into a brief time of prosperity. But, as the verse states, he did all of this with only a partial heart-commitment. He wasn’t fully bought in. It’s hard to say exactly what his half-heartedness looked like, but we learn later on that he fell into idolatry and forsook the God that he was once obedient to.
The lesson for us to take away from this is that true obedience that pleases the Lord comes from a full-heart—one that is completely given, by faith, to the glory of God; a heart that believes that obedience to the Lord will bring about our greatest good is one that produces an obedience that is based in joy, not fear or obligation or pressure.
But this raises the question: what about the times when we don’t feel like it? When we don’t feel like obeying the Lord? There are many times when obedience to Jesus and His Way is hard or difficult and we may be apprehensive about taking the necessary steps we know Scripture is calling us to. And that’s when the idea of discipline comes into play.
There are times when we are obedient to God out of joy, and other times when we are obedient to God out of discipline. But in both cases, the motivation to be obedient is borne out of faith that it is the right thing to do. When is faith more pure than when it is exercised apart from a physical or emotional desire to do so? The Lord delights in our faith, and credits it to us as righteousness (Romans 1:17).
So whether you feel like it or not doesn’t matter. What matters is the motivation behind the obedience: is it based in faith that obedience is right and good and for your greatest joy and God’s greatest glory? That motivation can be present whether you actually feel like being obedient or not. But if that motivation is absent, then it could be a sign that your obedience is based on something other than the glory of God, and it is misguided— flowing from a heart that’s not fully given to the Lord.
Today we can choose to serve God with full hearts, no matter how we feel. And if your motivation isn’t correctly aligned, then what a relief it is to know the One who is in the business of changing hearts.