Most of the time our grandchildren greet us willingly with hugs and kisses. However, every so often, they stubbornly withhold these expressions of affection. Especially when leaving for the day, the parents of our grandkids usually make them say goodbye with a hug and a kiss, even if they don’t seem to want to do so. However, when it is done against their will, it is not nearly as gratifying as when they willingly come to us with those desired hugs and kisses.
It is really no different with the children of God from any dispensation. There is a consistent record in Scripture of God placing a high premium on believers giving Him worship, obedience, or service from a completely willing heart. Moses was instructed to, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering; of every man that doeth it willingly with his heart…” (Exodus 25:2). Similarly, Paul instructed believers in the Dispensation of Grace about giving to the Lord, saying, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath…”(II Corinthians 8:12). In either instance, if not done willingly, it is neither pleasing to nor accepted by the Lord. In II Chronicles 17:16, Amasiah is praised because he “…willingly offered himself unto the Lord.” Jehovah could have somehow forced the circumstances, but how much sweeter when Amasiah was the Lord’s willing vessel. The Apostle Paul grasped this concept writing: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me…For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me” (I Corinthians 9:16-17). The “necessity” Paul refers to, we believe, was a burden of heart for his ministry of sharing the message that eternal punishment can be escaped and a fuller abundant life experienced through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God was providing open doors of opportunity to share the Gospel of Grace, and He was preparing hearts to hear this message. Paul understood if he ministered willingly, he would have a reward. If he did so unwillingly, he would receive no eternal reward.
These principles are as up to date as if written this morning. If you are struggling in the area of being willingly obedient to the Lord, such as in giving or sharing the gospel, make it a consistent matter of prayer that Christ would change your heart.
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