Parenting is not for “sissies” and requiring obedience from our children can be a challenge.  The child’s understanding of obedience is not always our understanding of obedience.  Many a parent will find themselves having to explain to their children what obedience actually looks like.

In truth though, as a child of God, I know that the Lord often has to explain obedience to me.  I also have my own understanding of obedience which is not necessarily how God sees it.  I often think I am being obedient, but it is not obedience.

So what does an obedient person look like? 

  1. Obedience is instant. Not “I will do it later,” or “When I have the time.”  An obedient person immediately re-arranges their life in order to start obeying.
  2. Obedience is without question. This person will obey even if it does not make sense to them.  They don’t engage their own reasoning or ideas on the matter, they simply do what is being asked.
  3. Obedience may cost. This person will obey even when it hurts.  It may cost them in convenience, comfort, finances, relationship, reputation, status etc.  No matter what the cost, they are willing to carry that cost in obedience.
  4. Obedience does not question benefit. This person does not ask: “What is in it for me?” or “What benefit will come to me as a result of this obedience?”  Although there are many benefits and blessings to obedience, an obedient person will obey even when there is NO benefit to them personally.
  5. Obedience is complete. This person does not obey to the 90% mark and then stop.  Their obedience is to every item required, all the way to completion, to the best of their ability.
  6. Obedience is with a right heart. As I have explained to my children, there is no point obeying me, but your face and heart is rebellious, angry or irritated.  Do it because you love me, or don’t do it at all.  Jesus said: “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (John 14:15) We are to be motivated in our obedience by our love for the Lord.

We obey Him because:

  1. His love compels us. Because He first loved us and died on the cross for our sins, our response to Him is to love Him. 1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”
  2. We fear Him. Not that we are scared of Him and expect to be punished, but we are reverent towards Him, understanding Who He is and reverently fearing a loss of relationship with Him. “The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.” Deut 6:24
  3. We long to demonstrate our love to Him, by obeying Him. (John 14:15)

If that is what obedience looks like, how is your obedience?

Looking at the characteristics of obedience are we falling into the trap of disobedience, or incomplete obedience? It is possible for us as believers to carry around a burden of disobedience, where we feel frustrated but cannot quite pin down where this frustration comes from.  Much like knowing Mom told you to do something and you have not done it.  It lies in the back of your head, in the corner of your heart, that thing that you have been told to do, but it is not completed yet.  Prov 28:9 warns that if we turn a deaf ear to the Word of God, even our prayers become detestable.  Very often it is the lack of obedience that frustrates our prayer life.

There is great freedom in being obedient. 

It brings with it refreshment, renewed energy and fresh vision.  Our hearts are once more united with God.

“But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:5-6

Thank You Lord that your father-heart is so patient with us in our disobedience, or partial obedience.  Thank You that Your word teaches us about obedience and that You call us to obedience like a Father that cares for his children.  Help me to listen to that call for obedience and be quick to respond; without question; no matter what; even if it does not make sense; because I love You.

The Mark

The Ear is in Hear

The Measuring Stick

The Heart Regulates the Hand