Saturday, June 2, 2012

Obedience: Go Sit in the Corner!

I was a compliant child growing up. I hated getting into trouble and I learned early on that disobeying would hurt far more than the the pain of doing what I was told. Some of us learn that lesson harder than others!

Now, being a parent myself, working to instill the value of obedience in my own children, my eyes have been opened to lessons that so clearly eluded me as a child.

First, it wasn't just the sheer act of obedience my parents wanted. Instead, most often it was what I'd learn from actually doing what it was they wanted me to do that was the real focus. I used to think that they simply wanted slave labor or to crush my spirit, but now as an adult, I see the value of hard work, responsibility, and taking care of things.

Second, my parents never wanted blind obedience either.  They most often hoped that I'd desire to help, to share in the responsibility, out of a sense of love and commitment to our family.

Simply put...through obedience, my parents wanted me to both "learn" and to "feel" something.

You know where I'm going with this...doesn't God want the same things for us too?

God doesn't want sheer obedience. Most often, it's what we'll learn through the task at hand that's the real focus.  And He certainly doesn't want our obedience to be cold, mindless, and numb.  He want's us to respond out of love and commitment to Him.

God wants us to "learn" and to "feel" something as we do what He asks of us!

Sometimes it's a real challenge trying to get my kids to go "sit in the corner" or have a "time out".  I can't imagine what it must be like for you who have teenagers!  What "corner" do they sit in when they disobey?

But the bigger question that none of us really think about is this...How many "corners" do we sit ourselves in because we choose to disobey God?  

Had we simply been willing to "learn" more lessons through obeying our Heavenly Father...or simply dropped the "teenage" attitude and let ourselves "feel" the joy that comes from pleasing Him...oh how different our lives could be?

In 1 Corinthians 6, the Apostle Paul writes about the kinds of people that will not make it into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Then in verse 11, he says something wonderful!  He writes, "Some of you were once like that.  But you were cleansed; you were made holy, you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Some of us were once like that!  Past tense! Not like that anymore!

When he wrote of the kinds of people who won't make it into heaven, he didn't call people to sheer acts of blind obedience to God to overcome the "corner" of hell.  Instead, God did the work!  He cleansed us, made us holy, made us right before Himself through Christ!

God didn't want obedience alone!  He wanted us to "learn" the freedom that holiness brings and to "feel" love and joy towards the One who makes that freedom possible!

I'm overwhelmingly thankful that, through Christ, we can be let out of the "corners" we sit ourselves in far too often through our own disobedience!

Yet our obedience isn't born out of's born out of love and thanksgiving for the "corners" He's already let us out of!!!

Be blessed!

Michael White

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