Live within or struggle without
How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. (Psalm 112:1, 5-9)
Serve God and obey his commands. There is great reward in living according to the standards God lays out for us in his Word. Nothing outdoes the grace of God, no one outdoes his love. Evil abounds, but those who choose to walk with Jesus will never be overcome by that evil. How do we recognize evil? Is it always right 'out there and in our face'? No, certainly not - sometimes it is an undercurrent, an attitude, a cleverly disguised argument. The Word of God actually helps us recognize the undercurrent, avoiding the pull of that current. It also helps us see the attitude even before it infects the masses. We need the wisdom God provides in his Word, but we also need the will to do as wisdom suggests!
Delight in obedience - that almost seems like an oxymoron. How many times do we struggle with obedience instead of 'delighting' in it? To delight indicates we actually 'enjoy' or find deep satisfaction in those acts of obedience. Let's be honest here - not every action of obedience is easy, nor is it immediately 'delightful'. Sometimes it is downright hard, kind of 'out there', and requires more than lip-service. In fact, if we are to live 'obedient lives', we need to recognize our 'confidence' is not in our own ability to live obediently but is in Christ's enabling power within us. The godly recognize when the path isn't good for them, but the obedient do more than recognize a wrong path - they actually avoid it, help others know not to take it, and point out a better path.
Those who delight in the commands of God find themselves surrounded with a peace that isn't 'equal' to the circumstances around them. In fact, it surpasses the circumstances! Bad news comes, foes line up to make an attack, and the godly find themselves secure in the peace of God. Why? Nothing moves us out of God's protection - nothing except our own will! Choose to live inside God's boundaries and you soon recognize there is a 'blessing' in living within those 'walls'. Choose to constantly put your toe across the line and you will soon find your 'security' and 'peace' is disturbed. Why? God knows a 'disturbed peace' is a means by which we recognize having 'violated' a boundary. Trust that 'feeling' you call a 'lack of peace' and seek to get back within those boundaries!
Delight in obedience - it is possible because when we actively choose to incorporate the truths of God into our daily lives, we are going to find we face life's circumstances with a different attitude and a whole lot more grace than when we do outside of his 'commands'. I don't know about you, but I have chosen to 'live within' rather than 'struggle without'. Just sayin!