“…you have obeyed from the heart…”
One the farm we had two draft horses that were used to haul heavy loads. I often rode on the hay wagon beside my uncle as he drove the horses along gathering up hay.
It did not take long for me to see that the larger horse was lazy and let the other horse pull most of the load. It was frustrating to my uncle to have to constantly prod along the larger and stronger horse.
When one of our children is trying to do a written assignment for school or university there are times when we observe they are not trying very hard to do the research and write the essay. We might say to them, “Put your heart into it.” What we are calling on them to do is to stop wasting time and get to work energetically and with some enthusiasm.
Various factors can interfere with our enthusiastic effort on a project, or with a matter that we should be doing our best to accomplish. What our writer is saying in the context of our verse is that the Christians in Rome had been delivered from slavery to sin and become slaves to righteousness.
This is a very brief yet rich way of speaking of the person outside of Christ and the one who is in Christ. It refers to the state we are in from birth and what God does for us through Jesus.
Paul, the writer here, is indicating the enthusiasm that these Roman believers had in their faith in Jesus. They put “all their hearts” into doing the will of God. They obeyed God from their hearts, from their innermost being. They are joyful slaves of their Creator. Such devotion to our God is a mystery to many people.
But for those of us who have been brought by the Spirit of God to the foot of the cross, we know that we have been released from a dreadful slavery to sin and now are willing slaves to our beloved Lord. Isaac Watts the first great hymn writer of the church puts it as follows:
My dear almighty Lord, my Conqueror and my King,
Thy scepter and Thy sword, Thy reigning grace I sing:
Thine is the power; behold I sit in willing bonds beneath Thy feet
Do you obey your Maker from the heart? Or do you murmur and complain about your lot in life and believe that God has given you too rough a road to walk?
Do you obey from the heart the will of God for you? Perhaps you do not understand the different and difficult way you are required to take in life. Call out to your God and ask Him to grant you the strength to continue along your way. He shall most certainly meet you and bless you with the power and the heart to continue.
Never give up! “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)