Have you ever felt emptiness in the midst of a celebration? As if the party were going on around you, but you couldn't join in with true abandon? A secret cheater, for example, is miserable at an awards banquet in his honor. A researcher who falsifies data to win a grant is never sure his efforts are worthy. An employee who misrepresents his performance for an incentive competition is curiously dissatisfied with the prize. Each could attend a celebration…but none could fully enjoy it.
Oddly enough, it is obedience that frees us to experience real celebration. When we live by God's precepts, we are ready at any moment to celebrate life, and to participate fully in joy. Someone has said that the greatest lie of Satan is that obedience can never bring happiness. A quick reading of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount verifies that assessment. The real joy, the real blessing, the real celebration lies in obedience. It is impossible to celebrate what God has done when we have not been a part of it through our own obedience.
Only when we give our all to a cause and follow God completely does joy burst forth when the time for celebration arrives. Holiness during the week yields joy at the worship celebration. Sacrifice over time yields joy when the challenge is ultimately met. Obedience insures we will never feel empty when the party begins!
ISAIAH 25:9 This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.
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