Reaching a Better Understanding of Obedience … Some Specifics
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Little did David, the young shepherd boy realize that as he looked after and protected his father, Jesse’s sheep, he was being groomed and nurtured to look after and protect his Heavenly Father’s sheep! By learning the place of responsibility, chores and obedience to his father, he was acquiring the traits necessary to be a leader of God’s people! Are we not involved in helping our own young to grow and mature into responsible adults who will live in a very irresponsible world?
As our young go through the passages of youth and adolescence into full-blown adulthood, they must learn the value, the requirement, the necessity of obedience. Teaching our young carries with it the principle of sharpening the edge of their heart, their conscience and their mind so they do not become dull of hearing, learning and obeying. Recently, one of our sons-in-law was attempting to cut and split a little extra firewood for us in the backyard! We could hear the thud of the axe … the laughter that would follow …to then be followed by yet another thud. When he came in for a break we asked him what the laughter was all about. His answer was that he was just not getting much done because the edge of the axe was dull! Really dull! Do you see where this is going?
Teaching our young the principle of obedience is difficult enough without the influence of the world coming into play. But into play it has come! The world we are living in is making it more and more difficult to teach obedience. Respect for the Lord, His Word, His will and His ways … respect for others and their property and feelings … respect for those in authority at every level are just not principles on the list of worldly priorities. But they are on the Lord’s list!
The word “obey” in Ephesians 6:1 is such a simple word, but one full of meaning. It is the concept of “to hear, to heed”, but this concept includes not just the idea of listening intently, but also to perform the command or the instruction being given. The principle here is one of both inward attitude of respect and honor, as well as the external acts of obedience (Ephesians 6:3). Please do not miss this point: The honor and respect being spoken of here is a life-long commitment … one that was planted, nurtured and cultivated in the days of childhood! Obedience is not something we just ask for or make a request for (like asking for someone to pass something at the table); it is something that is to be required!
The kind of obedience God is looking for in both the young and the old … in all of us … is that of willing obedience that comes from the heart (Romans 6:17)! This kind of obedience that our Lord is looking for rules out the following:
- Reluctant obedience
- Delayed obedience
- Angry obedience
- Any show of obedience where the heart remains defiant
Very simply … obedience without honor is really nothing more than hypocrisy!
Next Week: Telltale signs of obedience issues
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:9)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.