We have a three-year-old. Which means obedience is a big theme around our house these days. One of our most oft-repeated phrases goes like this, "Nathan, you need to obey THE FIRST TIME!" It's not enough to teach a child to obey their parents, but we must also teach them that true obedience comes when they obey the first time they are told... not later, not when I feel like, but when I'm told. This can be a hard lesson for a child, who is just beginning to see that there are so many things they'd rather be doing than picking up toys or eating dinner or whatever.
We also teach him that there are consequences to his actions. When he chooses to obey, there are positive consequences. And when he chooses to disobey... the consequences are more unpleasant. The reason we teach Nathan these things is because we love him, and we know better than he does what he needs right now. We want him to grow and learn and love and play and discover... and we want him to be safe and healthy and kind and responsible too.
But you know what? Obedience is a hard lesson for me to learn too. I know that there are things that God has been talking to me about, and instead of obeying Him THE FIRST TIME He tells me, I put it off until later... but later never comes. And so He tells me again, and again I agree with Him in theory, but when it comes to actually obeying, well... there are other things I'd rather do. The things God asks me to do sound hard, and doing it my way seem so much easier and more fun. I have all the excuses in the book, but when it comes right down to it, I choose to disobey Him.
When will I learn that God teaches me these things because He loves me, and He knows better than I do what I need right now. He wants me to grow and learn and love and play and discover... and he wants me to be safe and healthy and kind and responsible too.
So tell me again, Lord. Today I choose to obey You THE FIRST TIME!