The manner in which we do God’s will is as important as the thing itself. We obey acceptably when we obey from the heart. We do God’s will acceptably when we do his will as it is done in heaven, that is, as the angels do it.
How do the angels obey?
(1.) They do it regularly, without wavering. Angels do not do anything but that which is commanded. Obedience must be set by the sundial of God’s Word.
(2.) Angels obey God’s will entirely with nothing cut away. The least command cannot be left undone. Every command has the same authority, and if we do God’s will uprightly, we do it uniformly; we obey every branch of his will with unlimited obedience. Many do God’s will by halves. They pick and choose like a lame horse that favours one leg. To play a lute you must strike every string or spoil the music. Hypocrites profess fair, but when it comes to sacrificing their Isaac, crucifying a beloved sin, or parting with some estate for Christ, they pause and say as Naaman, ‘In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant’ (2 Kings 5:18). It is acceptable with God, though we fail in some measure, that we desire to do all of God’s will and that it grieves us that we do not do better.
(3.) Angels obey sincerely; first, by pure respect to his command. It was a hard service for Abraham to sacrifice his son, and though he surely did not feel present joy, he obeyed, because God commanded it. The command, not comfort, is the ground of duty. Secondly, we obey sincerely when we do God’s will with a pure eye to his glory. The Pharisees obeyed for vain-glory.
He that does God’s will rightly desires God’s honour to be lifted up in all the world rather than his own glory. A gracious soul makes God his focus and obeys his commands with the pure motive of lifting up his glory.
Thomas Watson from the 'Lord's Prayer'
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