And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NIV
This is a part of Moses’ final address to Israel. And in it, he reminds Israel what it is that the Lord God wants from them. They are to fear, or revere, the Lord. To walk in obedience to him. To love the Lord. Serving him with all their heart and mind. And to follow his commands and decrees.
It may sound like a lot. And it may seem burdensome to have to give so much to God. But is it really? Look at the end of the passage. They were to do this, not because God just wanted their love and service. But because it was for their own good.
As a parent, especially when my kids were young, I gave them instructions on how they should live. And that instruction was not arbitrary. I knew what would enable them to develop into healthy and secure young adults. While I have to admit that sometimes my instructions were to make parenting easier for me, for the most part, I was looking to their future. The instruction I gave them was for their own good.
And the same is true with God’s instruction to us. It is not intended to take all of the fun out of life. Rather, by following it I can reach my maximal potential as a child of God. Walking with him, loving him, serving him, and obeying him. It is for my own good. I only hurt myself when I fail to do those things. Obedience to God is for my own good.