Recognizing the How 

(moving from Duty to Delight)

Last week I wrote about “Remembering the Why” in our lives. One of the keys to knowing the “why” is that of perspective. Let me ask you a question: Do you love what you do?  Is life and work a duty or a delight.

This past weekend Mary and I had the opportunity to travel to Charleston to visit with our eldest daughter for a belated birthday weekend.  (Her birthday was January 6, but she was out of the country.)  We had a great time and it was wonderful to see her and just hang out.

Mary and I left Charleston around noon and were intending on being at home in time for the Sunday afternoon NFL divisional championship games on TV.  However, about half-way home Mary suddenly realized that she had left her purse at our daughter’s home and that everything she needed for the next day was in her purse!  We had no choice but to turn around and go back and get the purse.  Luckily, our daughter was still at home and drove and met us half-way!

Now I could have reacted badly to this inconvenience, but what difference would that have made?  It got me to thinking about the difference between duty and delight.

When we do things out of duty it is more about expectations and requirements, and obligations.  When we do things from a position of delight it is about emotions, relationships, and opportunities.  Duties seems harsh and humiliating.  One published definition of duty is

“the binding or obligatory force of something…”

We all have obligations and duties but is there a way for us to change our perspective on this?  David wrote in the Psalms,

“Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
Trust in the LORD and do good … Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD, and …
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;”

–Psalm 37: 1, 3-5, 7 nlt

Do you see the promise and progression here?  It’s all about perspective.  David began this paragraph with one negative instruction, “Don’t fret, worry, or envy” (v1) and follows that with four positives:  Trust in the Lord (v3), delight in the Lord (v4), commit yourself to the Lord (vv5-6), and rest in the Lord (v7).

One of the greatest threats to having the right perspective in life in our tendency to fret and worry about things going on around us.  The word translated “fret” means to burn or get hot-headed.  It seems to me that David is saying “cool down and take a breath!  This will set the stage for a better approach to most of life.

Think about the four positive instructions David gives.  I want you to remember four simple words that will help change your perspective.

Depend or Trust in the Lord.  A fearful or fretful heart is not a trusting heart because is displays the absence of joy and peace.  When our life and work is grounded in our complete dependence of the Lord we will be moving into a position of freedom and faith. Throughout this Psalm is a recurring theme of trust.

Delight in the Lord.  One commentator on this Psalm wrote

The word translated “delight” comes from a root that means “to be brought up in luxury, to be pampered.” It speaks of the abundance of the blessings we have in the Lord Himself, totally apart from what He gives us.

For us to enjoy the blessing of God and ignore the One who blesses is practical idolatry.  In Jesus we have all God’s blessings, and we need no other. As we live our lives and perform our work as unto the Lord we will move from a position of duty to delight.

Decide to Commit your way to the Lord.  The word translated “commit” means “to roll off your burden.”  As we allow Him to take our burdens we must remember that it is easy to become careless when we care less, but when our care moves from the burden of the duty to the bounty of delight our entire attitude will change.

Dwell or Rest in the Lord. One of the most neglected aspects of Christian living and trust is that of “resting in the Lord.”  The verb means “be silent or be still” which describes a calm surrender to Christ.  Think about the aversion people have to silence, but until we learn the secret of waiting silently upon the Lord we will never really experience His peace.

It is my prayer that you and I find ways to allowing our hearts and minds to be so cultivated by the Lord that we can move from a position of pure duty to pure delight.  Be delighted today!