Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Duty Calls

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

What comes to mind when you hear the word duty? For many, duty is something we have to do but do not want to do. “Do your duty” is often said by people who know that our heart is not in doing what we are doing. Others think of duty as something that is owed. That can make doing one’s duty even less appealing. Most of us don’t like owing anything to anyone.

Doing your duty is not absent in Scripture. In fact, it abounds. Take the Ten Commandments for instance. They were set up as laws that the Israelites had to obey because God had redeemed them from slavery (see Exodus 20:1-17). Or how about the book of Romans as another example. The first 11 chapters recount all the things that Christ has done for us. That is followed by 5 chapters of ethical instruction. The implication is that we have a duty to live out those instructions because of the Lord’s work on our behalf.

One could argue that the Word of God compels us to do our duty regardless of whether we feel like it or not. But I hope you have found that one of the wonderful blessings of our Lord is that He makes our duties into delights. Psalm 149 bears this out. Israel was given a duty to “rejoice” in their Maker. It wasn’t optional. It was commanded; given to them as their duty. 

But the Lord would not make it a drudgery for them. I guess He could have. He could have ordered them to rejoice and be done with it, but He held out good reasons to find joy in their Maker.  

The LORD takes delight in His people” (vs. 4). Imagine that! The all-powerful, all-sufficient Maker chose to find pleasure in those whom He saved. Furthermore, He allows His delivered ones to participate in His work (vv. 6-9). Unworthy as they were, still they could rejoice in that they shared in the Creator’s work.

C. H. Spurgeon said that God “would have His people happy and, by His Grace, He makes them so! We rejoice in our King because our King makes us rejoice! … Blessed religion, in which happiness has become a duty!” (Spurgeon’s Sermon: Jubilee Joy—or, Believers Joyful in Their King).

Perhaps you are in a period where you don’t feel like rejoicing in the Lord. We all experience that from time to time. When you find yourself in that time, I encourage you to rejoice anyway—do your duty to seek your joy in Him. But not grudgingly or reluctantly. Take time to think about all that the Lord has done for you, and remember that He “takes delight in [us] His people!”

O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.  Psalm 149:2

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