Friday, February 18, 2011

The Importance of Obedience

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:32 PM
With everything said about discipline having the goal of instructing our children, I must say that I have become convinced that the most important principle that we should instruct them in is obedience – in actions and attitudes.

“If we are going to raise a generation of faithful children to live righteous lives, they must begin by learning to obey their parents.” John MacArthur

One thing that gets said a lot in our house is, “Are you being obedient or disobedient?” As I’ve grown as a parent and a child of God I have come to understand that obedience is key. Experience has taught me that obedience brings rewards and disobedience costs dearly. Throughout the Bible God is constantly instructing His children to be obedient, rewards those who are, and punishes those who aren’t. Some may see this as unfair or unloving, but a clear understanding of God’s law gives us a clear understanding of His requirement for obedience. His law (rules, covenant,) is for our benefit. If we obey His law we can avoid the negative consequences of sin. It doesn’t take long to see that breaking God’s law (specifically the Ten Commandments) hurts relationships, either with God, with others, with ourselves, or all of the above. His law is to protect us and guide us to the rewards of healthy relationships.

As I read through the Bible with my children I get a snapshot look at the main stories and clearly see the theme of positive consequences for obedience and negative consequences for disobedience. We, like God, should love our children too much to let them continue down the wrong paths. God has put us in a position of authority over our children not so that we can rule over them but so that we can shepherd them. As their shepherd, we guide them, help them understand themselves as wonderfully and miraculously made by God, and plant a love of God and His Word in their hearts. Obedience is not something, however, we can command or punish them into. When children obey out of fear, it is only outward. It’s when obedience is rooted in love and trust that right actions come from right motives and with a right heart. Just as our willing obedience to God is a result of a loving relationship with Him, our children should willingly obey us as a result of a loving relationship with us.

Obedience needs to be taught in a loving environment. We do this by lovingly correcting them through allowing natural consequences when appropriate and enforcing logical consequences when natural consequences would be extremely harmful.

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right…Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1, 4

I make it clear to my children that I expect them to obey me, even in the little things, and I explain to them that the reason it’s important to obey because it’s Mommy and Daddy’s job to keep them safe. They must obey in the little things because it makes obedience a habit. If I let my child get away with little instances of disobedience at home, then he’s not likely to listen to me out in public when I want him to hold my hand or stop on command before running out in a parking lot. Letting children know that we expect them to obey because we love them and have their best interest at heart is a part of not exasperating them. Another part of that is how we conduct ourselves when we create boundaries and handle situations when they disobey. In everything we do and in everything we say, our love for them should be conveyed – by our tone, by the expression on our face, and by the words we choose to use.

0 comments on "The Importance of Obedience"

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Importance of Obedience

With everything said about discipline having the goal of instructing our children, I must say that I have become convinced that the most important principle that we should instruct them in is obedience – in actions and attitudes.

“If we are going to raise a generation of faithful children to live righteous lives, they must begin by learning to obey their parents.” John MacArthur

One thing that gets said a lot in our house is, “Are you being obedient or disobedient?” As I’ve grown as a parent and a child of God I have come to understand that obedience is key. Experience has taught me that obedience brings rewards and disobedience costs dearly. Throughout the Bible God is constantly instructing His children to be obedient, rewards those who are, and punishes those who aren’t. Some may see this as unfair or unloving, but a clear understanding of God’s law gives us a clear understanding of His requirement for obedience. His law (rules, covenant,) is for our benefit. If we obey His law we can avoid the negative consequences of sin. It doesn’t take long to see that breaking God’s law (specifically the Ten Commandments) hurts relationships, either with God, with others, with ourselves, or all of the above. His law is to protect us and guide us to the rewards of healthy relationships.

As I read through the Bible with my children I get a snapshot look at the main stories and clearly see the theme of positive consequences for obedience and negative consequences for disobedience. We, like God, should love our children too much to let them continue down the wrong paths. God has put us in a position of authority over our children not so that we can rule over them but so that we can shepherd them. As their shepherd, we guide them, help them understand themselves as wonderfully and miraculously made by God, and plant a love of God and His Word in their hearts. Obedience is not something, however, we can command or punish them into. When children obey out of fear, it is only outward. It’s when obedience is rooted in love and trust that right actions come from right motives and with a right heart. Just as our willing obedience to God is a result of a loving relationship with Him, our children should willingly obey us as a result of a loving relationship with us.

Obedience needs to be taught in a loving environment. We do this by lovingly correcting them through allowing natural consequences when appropriate and enforcing logical consequences when natural consequences would be extremely harmful.

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right…Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1, 4

I make it clear to my children that I expect them to obey me, even in the little things, and I explain to them that the reason it’s important to obey because it’s Mommy and Daddy’s job to keep them safe. They must obey in the little things because it makes obedience a habit. If I let my child get away with little instances of disobedience at home, then he’s not likely to listen to me out in public when I want him to hold my hand or stop on command before running out in a parking lot. Letting children know that we expect them to obey because we love them and have their best interest at heart is a part of not exasperating them. Another part of that is how we conduct ourselves when we create boundaries and handle situations when they disobey. In everything we do and in everything we say, our love for them should be conveyed – by our tone, by the expression on our face, and by the words we choose to use.

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