“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD.” Psalm 119:1 (NLT2)
In the Serengeti the animal kingdom is led by instinct, an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals that God designed when He created them. One author says, “Because of instinct, the behavior patterns of animals are repetitive and predictable, but there is no moral relationship between the animals and their Creator, as there is between human beings and God.”
People, however, are uniquely created to be inhabited by God and share a moral relationship with God that leads to a life of integrity and wholeness. The Psalmist says that people of integrity are joyful because they follow the instructions of the Lord. What instinct is for animals, the Holy Spirit is for man, guiding our behavior through God’s revealed Word. Jesus said that God’s Word was truth and that truth would set us free to be all that God wants us to be, fully alive! This is the benefit of obedience. Obedience always brings blessing! The word blessed is from the Greek word makarios, which means to be happy or blissful.
People of integrity are joyful because they align themselves with God’s Word in every area of their lives. They follow His instructions. Jesus modeled that kind of life for us from the very beginning of His ministry. Matthew records how Jesus launched His public ministry:
“Jesus left Galilee and went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John kept objecting and said, ‘I ought to be baptized by You. Why have You come to me?’ Jesus answered, ‘For now this is how it should be, because we must do all that God wants us to do.’ Then John agreed. So Jesus was baptized. And as soon as He came out of the water, the sky opened, and He saw the Spirit of God coming down on Him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My own dear Son, and I am pleased with Him.’” Matthew 3:13-17 (CEV)
What a joyful occasion from a simple act of obedience! Even though Jesus didn’t need to be baptized as a testimony that His sins were washed away, He did it because it was what God, the Father, wanted Him to do. He lived a life of integrity by following His Father’s instructions. He set an example for us to follow. He identified with us in His own baptism. Have you taken that step?
If you haven’t taken that simple step of obedience and experienced the personal joy that comes from doing all that God wants you to do, you can this weekend at a Woodlands Church campus near you. Join us after any one of our weekend services for our Fall Baptism Celebration! You can register now. We look forward to sharing that joy with you!