Loving Obedience

I didn't want to get up this morning in time to write this blog. I really wanted to stay in my nice, warm bed for another half hour. Between work, hockey games, soccer games and other commitments, it's been a long time since I've gotten to sleep past 6 a.m. Getting up was tough, and it was so tempting to just stay in bed. What would it hurt to skip just one day of posting?

Apparently, God knows that one of you really needs to read this post this morning because He prodded me out of my cozy bed. This post was half-written in my head by the time I got up. In fact, I had incorporated it into my dream last night. I know that writing this blog is an act of obedience to God. Despite the fact that I don't always know what to write or how to say what needs to be said, I know that if I am faithful to show up at my keyboard, God will provide the words. It's not a matter of doing it because I want to; it's a matter of being faithful to what God has told me to do and letting Him work.

Obedience is an important concept to pass on to your children. We need our kids to understand that when God asks us to do something, all He asks is that we faithfully obey whether we want to or not and whether or not we see the purpose in it. If we are faithful, then God will bless our obedience.

  • Share the story of Noah with your children. You can find it in Genesis 6-9. This may be a familiar story to your kids, so let them tell you the story. Remind them that many scholars think that it had never rained before the flood. Ask them how hard they think it must have been for Noah to build a huge boat when the idea of a flood was not something he could really understand. Ask them if they think people made fun of Noah for building the ark. Point out that Noah's obedience resulted in Noah and his family being the only people who were saved from destruction.
  • Give your children a particularly distasteful chore to do -- cleaning the trash cans, picking up dog poop, cleaning the toilets. Don't allow them to argue with you about it, and tell them you expect it to be done well. When they are done, give them a special treat of some kind. Tell them that you are rewarding them for their obedience. Explain that God rewards us for our obedience even when we don't understand why we should obey. Over and over again in the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites, "If you obey, then I will reward you." One example is Exodus 19:5, "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession."
  • Our obedience stems from our love for God. Tell your kids that you are going to play a game. They have to choose whom they want to obey. Give them two choices like Mom or the mean girl at school or your teacher or your dog. Make some of the choices fun, some wrong and some right. See which ones your kids pick. Talk about what makes them want to obey the people that they chose. Then ask them why they think we should obey God. Share John 14:15 with them "If you love me, you will obey what I command." Obedience is an outgrowth of love. If we love Jesus, then we should be willing to obey Him. Sometimes we can't see the importance of what He's asking us to do, but if He asks, our love should lead us to obey Him.

Remember that true obedience comes from inside you, not from someone putting pressure on you. If we want our kids to submit to God with joyful hearts, then they need help understanding how love and obedience are related. Be sure to share some times with your kids when you haven't wanted to obey what God has asked. Give them examples of how you were rewarded for your obedience.

And the next time God prods you to get out of bed early to do something for Him, do it. You never know how you'll be blessed.

Don't miss tomorrow's post. In November and December, I'm going to be doing some exciting things on the blog. I'm going to offer you a sneak peek tomorrow. Don't forget to check in.