Obedience Is Not a Dirty Word

By Grant Hawley

"Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God" - 1 John 3:9

My son is a sweet-hearted boy, but he's also four-years old. And he's also half me. So, he often just wants to do things his own way. I do my best to persuade him that if he'd listen to me the first time about how to do things correctly and safely he'd save himself a lot of trouble. But he will still insist on wearing long sleeves when it's 100 degrees out or running on hardwood with his socks on. So, I stay ready with a short-sleeved shirt in my pocket or a box of Band-Aids within reach. After a few tears and a hug his stubbornness softens a bit and he trusts me a little bit more the next time.

I can't help but see that this is so often the way my relationship with God goes. He tells me one thing; I do another, and He's always right there with whatever I need to help fix the mess I make. In the end my stiff neck relaxes some and I trust Him a little bit more.

My old pastor used to compare God's revealed will for us to a vehicle owner's manual. With an owner's manual, the maker is telling us how our vehicle functions best. We can ignore it and put diesel in a gas tank, or transmission fluid in the oil pan, but we are going to cause ourselves a whole lot of trouble if we do. Likewise, we can ignore our Maker's instructions but it will lead to trouble if we do. But if we trust and obey we will find ourselves running smoothly and better able to handle life's challenges.

The more I experience life (and I'm only 31, so I'm really just starting), the more I fall in love with God's wisdom, and the more I distrust my own. My way never really turns out so well. But more than that, I can see God's love in every instruction.

When He tells me not to forsake the assembly, it's because He knows that I need my brothers. When He tells me to submit to the governing authorities, it's because He wants me to be free from legal trouble and in good standing in the community. When He tells me to love my wife as Christ loved the Church, it's because He wants us to have a happy home.

I think in some ways we never really grow up. Just like my son, when I'm trying to be on my best behavior, I need a lot of help. He can't sit still in a chair for the length of a meal without reminders. I can't persevere joyfully through difficulties on my own either.

But God is a loving father. When we need reminders, or a Band-Aid, or a short-sleeved shirt He's right there with everything we need to realize just a little bit more that He is worthy of our trust and obedience.

And because He loves us and realizes our weakness (He knows we're made of dust), He gives us His Son, a treasure for our earthen vessels, so that we have all the strength we need to follow His will.

Thank You, Father, for loving us enough not to leave us without guidance. Teach us to love obedience.