Playtime at McDonalds was over. It was time to wrap things up and get going. Of course telling three children that it’s time to leave is easier said then done. After much repetition I finally got all three kids in the van. Relieved, yet frustrated, I sat down and stated, “You know you guys really have to listen and obey mommy” Isabella’s response, “Why?”
It’s a question that’s not all that uncommon in the Houle household. At first glance the question is simple and unassuming, yet it can be very thought provoking – forcing us to truly think of the reasons behind what we do, and what we demand.
“Why?” hmm… I was tempted to go with the trusty cliche “because mommy says so,” but I decided to dissect the question. “Why do we obey?” As I pondered this question I considered why we choose to obey God. Like a parent/child relationship, we also share a personalized bond with our Heavenly Father, because of His deep unconditional love for us, as well as the role obedience plays. In our walk with God, we have strong answers to the question “why we obey”.
- Love: If we love God we will try to please Him with our actions. Out of appreciation of who He is and what He has done for us. We are still human and will mess up, but we get back up and keep trying.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
- Respect: We respect the source. God is faithful, and deserving to be praised. We know and trust God’s judgment is the best, because He is the one who gave us a moral compass to begin with. He set the definition of right and wrong, and the order of things. Hopefully our kids will also start to respect the source as well, as we try to practice what we preach.
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
- Consequences of Disobedience: We obey, because there are consequences to disobedience. Sometimes we see the physical ramifications, other times we feel the void and separation from God. Both feelings are not pleasant, and are used to hopefully draw us back to God, our true joy giver. Discipline works similar, it is an action to help deter a child from negative behavior that will hurt them in the immediate or long term.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
- Trusting God’s Love For Us: God’s knowledge far outweighs ours. We trust He said things for a reason, because He has the full picture and story at His fingertips. As parents we have walked a lot of paths that we hope to spare our children from, so we try to spur them down the right path, and hope they trust us enough to follow.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Obedience is not an if/then statement. It is not when we completely understand everything then we obey. It’s being obedient based on the one speaking rather than our limited knowledge on the subject. We will never know all the reasons why God placed every word in the Bible, but that should not determine our level of obedience. God is God, and we are not.
Like children need to trust and obey their parents, so too must we trust our Heavenly Father. Even if we don’t understand it all we know that God loves us enough to die on the cross for us. His words are out of love and we should honor them.