I delight to do your will, O my God;

your law is within my heart.

Psalm 40: 8

 

It seems that understanding motivation should be fairly simple. In theory, this is what all employers, governments, and religious leaders do. This is also an important part of what parents engage in when attempting to lead our children and to get the basic aspects of family living accomplished. These examples do not begin to cover all of the relationships in which seeing and using the motivation of people is a central part of what takes place. In addition, most of us struggle to fully understand the forces and the influences that drive our own actions and reactions as we go about living. It is apparent from David’s comment in this Psalm that this struggle to understand what drives us is not a new one, either.

 

David has already stated that tradition, ritual, and even the system of sacrifices that God, Himself, had set out for them to follow were not the reason for living within the favor of God. All of these practices could be a form of worship that was engaged in out of love for God and even in obedience to His law, but they were not the motivation for that desire to follow God’s will, and adherence to them was not sufficient to satisfy God’s desire for relationship with His people. As stated above, very little has changed over the years. We still strive for understanding, and we still seek after a system of worship that makes our relationship with God simple and provides a formula for receiving God’s favor through our demonstrated devotion. This reciprocal relationship is often how we understand God’s law and His will.

 

Yet, that is not what God intends or desires. The Lord delights in our worship, but that delight is greatest when that worship is the on-going expression of the way that we live. In Christ, we have something that David could only imagine, for we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us, and this transformative aspect of the relationship with God implants God’s living law of righteous love within our beings. The presence of Christ within changes the fundamental nature of who we are, and He also clearly defines the motivation for all that we think, say, and do. In Christ, all of our lives can be lived out in worshipful service to God, and so, to the glory of His name and for the purposes of His Kingdom on earth. This possibility should challenge each of us who know Christ, for the question that it raises is one of true commitment and of willing obedience through surrender of self.

 

So, in all matters whether great or small, my prayer needs to be, “Lord, I repent of my selfish and stubbornly willful thoughts, words, and actions. Show me Your will and lead me into Your ways so that my life will bring glory to Your name and delight to Your eyes. O Lord, You are the delight of my heart and Your loving grace, righteousness and truth are the law that I desire to follow.”

I delight to do your will, O my God;

your law is written in my heart.

Psalm 40: 8

 

Doing what someone else wills us to do is not natural for most people. We want to be the ones who call the shots and who determine the rules by which we live. Now most of us do give some credence to the authority that a government possesses; at least as long as it doesn’t try to tell me how fast I can drive. The natural person, the one who was born into this world with the weight of sin already flowing in the blood, resists and rejects any and all external authority. This seems to be especially true when that authority is the foundational one that God alone holds.

 

Yet, these words from David’s mouth are the sincere and honest expression of a man who fits the description of this natural man well. He has rebelled against God and lived his life according to the rules and laws that he has deemed most beneficial for himself. These rebellious and self-directed times have taught him a couple of important things. The first is that the consequences that come from his own course setting have been bad at best and disastrous at other times. Next, David has experienced the faithfulness of God who loves him continually and who pours out His grace and redemption upon this wandering son.

 

It is from the perspective of the changed man that David cries out his words of devotion to God. This is the change, the transformation, which comes as each of us encounters and surrenders our life to Christ. The heart-deep acceptance of God’s law of truth does not come about in that natural man of David’s birth, and it does not exist in any other people in our original state. The peace that is seen here comes about as Christ works in our hearts and minds to cleanse and to strengthen us in God’s way of righteousness. Then God’s true law as revealed in His Word and explained by His Spirit will bring about a state of being that allows each of us to proclaim the same sort of delight that filled David’s heart.