How sweet are your words to my taste; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. - Psalm 119:103-104

Words are like people. They have relatives that look like them, and sometimes they share common concerns. Take “disciple” and “discipline,” for instance. These two words are closely related. A disciple is a person who understands the discipline of obedience. Discipleship is not solely about obedience, though—it is also about trusting the master teacher. Discipleship is not possible without both obedience and trust. The right balance is summed up by the old hymn: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Obedience doesn’t always make people happy—just the opposite! Obedience sometimes means doing exactly what we don’t want to do, and that can make us very unhappy. So the question is, can you be a happy disciple when you are disciplined to be obedient and when being obedient is not pleasant? The psalmist apparently thought so! He said, “How sweet are your words to my taste; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding” (119:103-104).

Commandments sweeter than honey? How can this be? First, the psalmist said, “I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my joy and health” (119:93). When God’s commands seem onerous, men often cast them aside and experience a sense of freedom as they do what they want rather than what God wills. But such joy is short-lived as the negative consequences to health and well-being become apparent. Lasting joy and well-being are found by doing things God’s way.

Obeying God’s commands gives men an edge! Seeing things from a divine perspective is clearly superior to the limited vision of the secularist. As the psalmist said, “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies” (119:98). That’s a great position to be in!

It’s all too easy to take a wrong turn in life (119:104). But God’s commands help us see the right course and avoid the wrong track. That knowledge can save us a lot of grief. God’s commands are indeed sweet, and obeying them is really the way to go!

God’s commandments are undeniably sweet, but they can be hard, too. Fortunately, God never issues a command without enabling its performance. With one hand he holds out the command, with the other he extends the power. So we trust him for the power as we obey his command. That’s how the disciple who is disciplined to obey learns to be happy!

For Further Study: Psalm 119:89-112

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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