A Willing Attitude

During my children’s summer vacation I’ve had the opportunity to spend a little more time than usual doing things together with them. Usually that means running an errand or doing something that’s just a little bit out of the ordinary. None of those activities are very noteworthy, but what stands out to me is their willing attitude to join me in the activity. Most of the time, these activities are very new to my kids and involve the risk of doing something differently. I usually present the opportunity to be my companion without requiring them to join me, so I’m pleased when they demonstrate the willingness to try something new and tag along with me. Their willing attitude is what pleases me the most.

This kind of willing attitude is something that God requires of us too. As human beings, we have free will to choose how we will behave, whether to follow God, or not. While the choice is freely ours to make, the Bible is very clear about what the right choice is. The decisions we make about obeying God or following other competing desires have drastically different rewards and consequences. There may be a short-term benefit of worldly satisfaction by following our own desires, but the ultimate consequence of not following God is death. Just as a parent is pleased when his children heed instruction, God is pleased when we follow Him. On top of that, He offers an eternal reward!

Our attitude is very important to God. We’ve heard this before, but it is good to be reminded. Even when our actions have the appearance of obedience and righteousness, it is our attitude that is judged. Proverbs 21:2 describes this in elegant terms, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”  God is not going to be fooled by the mere appearance of our behavior, but our intentions and willingness to submit will be judged.

With the Fall Holy Days upon us, we will undoubtedly find ourselves under all kinds of pressure, putting our attitudes to the test. Knowing that our hearts will be judged under such pressure, now is the time to make sure that we are willing to follow God with joy and gladness. If we follow God begrudgingly or bitterly, it will be plain to Him and the consequence will be severe.

There may be unpleasant consequences for obeying God as well, but those consequences are worldly and temporary. Paul served jail time and was physically beaten for standing up for the Truth. Jesus Christ laid down His whole life in the ultimate act of obedience. How severe are these “bad” consequences relative to the good things that we face? I think that it’s clear that the vast majority of difficulties that we may encounter pale in comparison. When we read about Paul’s or Christ’s examples, we see how courageous and how willing they were to fulfill their purpose. This is the kind of willing attitude that we must have.

We need to be encouraged, especially as we enter the Fall Holy Day season, knowing that we can trust in God and that the worldly consequences that we may face are relatively insignificant. David reflects on this when he writes, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Are we willing to put our trust in God and stand up firmly for the Truth? We must!

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