A few years ago, I read a parenting book entitled “Don’t Make Me Count to Three” by Ginger Hubbard. My boys were entering their toddler years and “NO!” had become their favorite word. I could give them a specific direction and they would literally look straight at me and do the complete opposite. It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed some Biblical advice on handling disobedience.
Now, before you click over to Amazon and order your own copy of the book, please don’t believe I’m saying that it cured my sons’ disobedience. It did not. However, it gave me tools that have equipped me to see past the outward behavior of my kids and into the heart issues that are the root of their disobedience. And even more importantly, it’s caused me to take a deeper look at my own tendencies to disobey.
This past Sunday, Shannon defined disobedience as unbelief. When we believe what someone is telling us, we obey. When we don’t believe them, we disobey. It doesn’t matter how old you are…we all struggle with obedience. So, the question is, how do we obey?
The process for obedience that I learned to teach my boys has three steps:
1. We obey all the way. I have to explain to my boys that “put away your toys” does not mean hide them all under your bed. They haven’t fully obeyed a direction to clean up until things have been put in their proper place. You’ve probably heard the quote “partial obedience is still disobedience.”
2. We obey right away. When a direction is given, it should be followed as soon as possible, if not immediately. Think about how you feel when your child hasn’t completed a task you gave over a week ago. Now imagine how our Heavenly Father feels when we delay our obedience to what he has called us.
3. We obey with a happy heart. No one likes being told what to do. I’m as guilty as the next person of stomping my foot and pitching a hissy fit when I don’t want to do what God has asked of me. But because I have the Holy Spirit living inside me, I have the ability to “obey with a happy heart.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated those phrases over the past 6 years. And I’m confident I’ll say them a trillion more times in the future. My boys know them by heart and usually finish my sentences for me when I’m in the middle of reminding them how to obey. I want my children to understand that God’s blessings follow our obedience. That should be all the motivation that we need to believe whatever it is that God is telling us.
We can’t rely on and claim the benefits of God’s promises if we aren’t willing to obey His commands. God promises that His blessings follow our obedience. — Wendy Blight