Psalm 40:8 (NLT)
I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.
God’s greatest desire is to live in and fill up the hearts of all people in the earth. That means he wants his commands to be front and center in our lives. God wants a handle on our hearts, access to our souls because when he does he is better able to guide us in the direction he wants us to go. He takes pleasure in our lives to the extent that we take pleasure in his will.
Undeniably, there are times when God’s will seems hard to follow. But there are also times when what he tells us to do is both a joy and a delight. When God’s laws are written on our hearts, it rules us, controls us, fortifies us, stabilizes us, and demands that we follow a certain path that is divinely outlined by God for us. The law of God is the compass and the guidebook for the believer.
It’s frustrating when you don’t know where to go, when you’re moving but know you’re lost, when you’re heading somewhere but don’t exactly know where that somewhere is. When God’s instructions are written on our hearts, we may not be clear on the destination but we can know we’re headed in the right direction. When his instructions become dear and we embrace it for our lives, it influences us in amazing ways and commands that joy enter in.
David says he found joy in doing the will of God. He said, “I take joy,” which means he chose to embrace joy in the middle of God’s will even if he didn’t understand it and even if it didn’t make sense. We feel a sense of purpose and meaning from achieving our life’s purpose within the scope of God’s will. We have been put on earth to bring glory to God and to serve others. When we do this, we feel joy.
We are in our sweet spot when we are in the center of God’s will. Finding joy in God’s will means we delight in the path he has chosen for us. I truly want to get to the place where I delight, like David, in doing God’s will. I think this should be the goal of every believer. Think of enjoying a sunset. As you take pleasure in the sunset, you want to keep enjoying it. In much the same way, when we find joy in God’s will, we desire to do his will more and more.
“The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.”
— D.L. Moody