Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy. (James 1:22-25)
How many times did you have to be told something as a kid? Mom would ask me to do something, and I might not want to do it, but if I didn't act upon it the first time she asked, there was no asking a second time! Some of you know exactly what I mean. Obedience was expected, the first time, without hesitation. Is it to be any different with God? There are times he asks for us to do something very specifically, but we hesitate. Why is that? It could be that we think the thing he requires of us is just a bit too hard - like consistently reading the Word each day or beginning to tithe faithfully. I have found that when we finally do take the steps of obedience he requires, what we feared the most about taking those steps wasn't really all that bad. Obedience doesn't have to be 'burdensome' or 'harder than we'd like' - it can actually be quite rewarding.
If we examine our passage closely, we will observe there is a state of emotional well-being that is the result of obedience. Doing what God asks results in freedom - freedom brings a sense of emotional 'happiness' that we might just be missing out on if we are dragging our feet about something God is asking for us to do. One might think they could ignore God's requests, but there is a definite 'rub' that comes when there is indifference to his teachings. When we actually allow his teachings to permeate our minds, our will begins to change and that actually affects our emotional status. If we are a bit too 'on edge', angry all the time, disappointed in ourselves or others almost continually, we might do well to ask God if there is some area of our life that he has asked for obedience in and we haven't responded to that request.
Obedience isn't optional, but it is up to us to actually take those steps toward whatever it is God is asking of us. We might not believe 'freedom' or 'emotional well-being' will be the result of our steps, but when those steps are taken because God asks them of us, the end result will be good. Just sayin!