We’ve all witnessed a kid in a store acting up and driving their parents absolutely crazy. It’s one thing to see disobedience in children and it’s quite another to see it in a teenager or even worse yet, an adult. If we fail to teach our children obedience in early childhood they soon grow up and think that the world revolves around them, and that’s not a pretty sight. Teaching our children to obey is one of the best possible gifts we can give them. Obedience softens the heart for the things of God. We cannot come to Christ without obedience, and without obedience we are unable to please God. Obedience is the direct result of applied faith. We believe by faith and then we act in obedience.
Obedience is a learned behavior. Jesus had to be obedient when he came to earth to do the will of his father who sent him. I think of the account in Luke 2 verses 44-51. Jesus had travelled with his parents to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. He was twelve years old at the time, and when the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth. When his parents returned home and realized Jesus was not with the travelers, they started looking for him among their family and friends. When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem and found him sitting in the temple listening to the teachers. His mother questioned him and said, “Why have you done this to us?” Jesus replied by asking, Didn’t you know that I must be in my father’s house?” Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
Jesus shows us the perfect example of obedience. He didn’t question his parents or say, now wait a minute, I’m God’s son, I can do what I please. No, it says that he (Jesus), was obedient to them, and by obeying his earthly parents he was in turn obeying his Father in heaven. In Philippians 2:8 it says . . and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross. Yes, even Jesus had to humble himself to become obedient to do the will of his father, knowing full well that his obedience would eventually lead to his own death. Following Jesus’ example, we too must do the same. Obedience takes humility.
We come out of the birth canal, kicking screaming and wanting. It is our sin nature that we are born with. It’s that desire within us to want to do own thing, to have our own way and to be our own person. But we like Christ, must put to death that sin nature so we can walk in obedience to Christ. In humility we must choose to obey because that is what God expects of us as his children. Throughout our lives God continually teaches and disciplines us. The bible says that he disciplines those he loves (Hebrews 12:6). Are we receptive to Gods discipline in our lives or do we choose disobedience and rebellion? God demonstrated obedience in his life here on earth, and we are to follow in his footsteps and do the same.
Teaching obedience to our children takes a lot of work and follow through, and it’s not always going to be easy. Just as our heavenly father knows what’s best for us, we begin teaching obedience to our children because we want what’s best for them. We want them to be safe and protected and that’s what obedience does for us, also it is a direct command from God. We are instructed in Proverbs 22:6 . . .Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it. By training our children to obey us, we are in turn helping them to obey God. God has given us authority over them and we are their teachers. Let us be the best possible example for them by letting them see our deep love for God and our own obedience to to him. And when we blow it (like I so often times do), show them in humility through confession how to makes things right again.
In this life, even as adults, we are all going struggle with obedience from time to time. It is our sin nature waging war with our spirit. Thankfully we can call on the power of our ever-present helper, the Holy Spirit who gives us the purpose and the power to do God’s will. We want to obey and please God out of a heart of love for all he has done for us. He died for us, let it be our heart desire to live for him and to train our children to do the same. May we humbly submit ourselves to the will of our father and as obedient children, to become more and more equipped to walk in obedience and fulfill all that God has planned for us.