“Are you going to do that with a happy heart?” These were the words of a young mom I know. She gets that raising a child is more than just outward obedience. She is focused on developing the inside of her three-year-old, not just his actions. Obedience begins in the heart.
On this morning, she asked him to pick up the toys but he wasn’t done playing. When he slammed the first toy into the box, she asked him that question, “Are you going to pick up your toys with a happy heart?” He paused and thought for a moment. Then he smiled at her and began gently picking up the toys. Now, I know it doesn’t always go that smoothly, but he is learning at an early age to stop and make the adjustment on the inside, which produces better behavior on the outside.
Many of us struggle with having a happy heart when we obey God. We may even be really good at outward compliance, but inside… we are shaking an angry, defiant fist in the air. It is the heart that says, “I’ll do it, but I’m not going to like it.”
For instance, a woman can act calm on the outside, but on the inside her temper flares from zero to 60 in two seconds. Is this person only quick tempered if she displays that temper? Or, is she quick tempered because of what’s going on inside, before it ever reaches the boiling point on the outside?
Jesus said that evil actions begin in the heart. (Mark 7:21-22) He also reminded us that what’s inside the heart will make its way out, good or bad. (Luke 6:45) Actions, obedience, sin – it’s all a heart thing.
So, I have to ask myself, what’s in my heart? Am I obeying God with a happy heart?
What about you? What’s in your heart? Do you obey God with a happy heart?
“It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard.” Matthew 12:35 The Message
New Attitude #1: Obey with a happy heart
Special thanks to the young mother training her child in the way he should go – you know who you are and I love your littles.