Obedience is a hard thing. Born from our sinful nature, we all struggle with the concept of submitting our will to another. It’s a battle that rages the entirety of our lives, yet one we can chose to win.
My children are 5 and 3 years old. The majority of my day is spent repeating phrases like, “No, not right now. You have to wait. I said not to do that. Don’t touch that. If you throw that again, you’re going to be in trouble.” I basically feel like a loop recording that is continuously shouting out commands into an empty, void-less, black abyss. Getting these two strong-willed, little people to listen and obey me has been one of the biggest struggles as a mother. And it’s not that their behavior is in anyway untypical of children their age, its just that I wish they could hear and do as I say, rather than experience the consequences of following their own impulses.
As adults, we still struggle with the concept of obedience. Often times, we know what the right choice is, but we choose to ignore it to fulfill our own need or want for something–even though we know the fallout from that choice could be detrimental. We hear God telling us to wait, but we don’t want to wait. We hear Him telling us to not do something, yet we push away His guidance in order to follow our own sinful desires. Obedience, like discipline, doesn’t feel good. It goes against our selfishness as humans to let go of our own ideas and submit to the authority of the God above us.
Yet, I have found in my own life that when I chose to obey God’s direction, the outcome is far better than if I had instead chosen to ignore it and give in to my own will. God’s will for our lives is “perfect, pleasing and good.” (Romans 12:2). Over and over again, scripture tells us that the consequences of pleasing God by obeying His commands is one of prosperity and life. His desire for each of us to live a life full of love and fulfillment is evident in Christ, who “through the obedience of one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) Jesus is our ultimate example of what it means to come into the obedience of God. To be fully submissive and humble to His will, by rejecting our own selfishness in the total desire to see God’s glory revealed through our lives.
Obedience is a hard thing, but it can become a natural part of our lives if we learn to lean on Jesus. The more we open our hearts to seeking Him, the easier it will be to say yes when He speaks. Like all things, this takes time. And mistakes. Thankfully, God is a gracious loving being who seeks to forgive our faults and set our feet upon the righteous path.
I asked my husband the other night if our children would ever learn to listen when I speak. “Eventually, they will learn,” he said, “It just takes time and a steadfast effort on our parts to continue to show them the right way.” I nodded. Seems that is still the case with my relationship with God, but I am so thankful that He is up to the task of continuing to pursue me, despite my nature of waywardness.