What is it about doing the will of God? From the very beginning with Adam thru the Old Testament and New Testament, there has always been a battle to do God’s will. Too often mankind prefers his own ways, prefers the “fleeting pleasures of sin” to the eternal joys of God. Why is that?
God calls us to do his will because he loves us and knows it will bring us joy. A good mother tells her young child to eat his oatmeal, to not play in the street, to do his homework for his good and ultimate joy. Junior may not like oatmeal, he may like to play in the street, and he may not like school…but a good mother knows what’s best for him.
There’s always a struggle…. God’s ways or my ways…..the ultimate joy or temporary pleasure. Too often my flesh wins out and I go my own way. As we know, “sin overpromises and underdelivers”…. always bringing with it the “hangover” of guilt and shame.
St. Pope John Paul II reminds us to “ remain in God’s love by keeping his commandments, for they save us from the destructive force of egoism and falsehood. To keep the commandments is to be faithful to our deepest aspirations. The commandments are God’s way of teaching us how to live within reality, the only sure way his complete joy can be ours.” (Pope John Paul II, Magnificat, 5-19-22)
God’s will is not arbitrary. The commandments are not just a test to see if we love God. Every action of God toward us is based on love. He loves us and wants us to be happy. We often don’t understand this truth; we can think God has other motives. As outlined in the catechism, we too often lack trust in God’s goodness toward us. “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Par. 397)
The Lord makes this very clear in the reading from John’s gospel. “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” (John 15:9-11)
God’s motive for calling us to do his will, to obey his commandments, is love… that the joy he has (which must be INCREDIBLE), might be in you and me. Wow.
So let’s run to do God’s will… with joy and anticipation. It may be difficult at times, but it will yield wonderful GODLY JOY. And that is very good news.