The kids and I are working through a book on wisdom called Get Wisdom! by Ruth Younts, and so far we have touched on what real listening, obedience, contentment and orderliness are. It has been helpful for us to have a common vocabulary as we talk about these fruits, and it has made it easier to address issues that arise with regards to them.
It can be easy to deal with these issues with my children but not always deal with them in myself (which is not really teaching my children a whole lot!), and I was especially convicted of that last night as I read Spurgeon before bed. He addresses the verse in Psalm 100:2 – “Serve the Lord with gladness:”
Delight in divine service is a token of acceptance. Those who serve God with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not serving him at all; they bring the form of homage, but the life is absent. Our God requires no slaves to grace his throne; he is the Lord of the empire of love, and would have his servants dressed in the livery of joy. The angels of God serve him with songs, not with groans; a murmur or a sigh would be a mutiny in their ranks. That obedience which is not voluntary is disobedience, for the Lord looketh at the heart, and if he seeth that we serve him from force, and not because we love him, he will reject our offering. Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service, and therefore true. Take away joyful willingness from the Christian, and you have removed the test of his sincerity. If a man be driven to battle, he is no patriot; but he who marches into the fray with flashing eye and beaming face, singing, “It is sweet for one’s country to die,” proves himself to be sincere in his patriotism. Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong. It acts as the remover of difficulties. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway carriage. Without oil the axle soon grows hot, and accidents occur; and if there be not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness. The man who is cheerful in his service of God, proves that obedience is his element; he can sing,
“Make me to walk in thy commands,
’Tis a delightful road.”
Reader, let us put this question—do you serve the Lord with gladness? Let us show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we serve a good Master.
Read that last paragraph again! Do I serve the Lord with gladness? Cleaning, doing dishes, doing laundry, changing diapers, cooking meals, filling my children’s requests for help, laying down my own desires and plans for the desires and plans of others,…? Do I show the world that service to my God is delight and joy? Do I show my own children that I serve a good Master? And what this reveals about my heart – do I really find Christ and His gospel beautiful and compelling, or am I still loving and living for myself more?