God has really been laying on my heart how important it is to teach our children obedience. That may seem silly to you because, well duh, of course you want your children to obey, right? But how many of us truly require that our children obey? And I’m not talking about obeying after you have asked three times for them to do what you have asked. For that is in fact not obedience. I am talking about insuring that your children listen and do what they are told the first time. Why is it so important? Is it really such a big deal when you have to repeat your request 3 or 4 times? I mean, eventually they do it so what is the big deal?
Everywhere I look now a days it seems that children are no longer required to listen or obey their parents. We are told not to stifle their creativity or crush their spirit. As if requiring obedience is cruel and un-loving. How could wanting good things for our children be unkind? I believe it is more selfish than loving to not demand obedience. We would rather our children like us than lay down authority. And yet the ironic thing is, children rarely like or respect a parent that does not set boundaries or require obedience.
The world thinks that children thrive better with NO boundaries and are better off running free. That could never be farther from the truth. Boundaries help a child feel safe and loved. Boundaries and rules helps a child know they are cared for. It helps them know that they are not alone. They are reassured that they don’t have to figure this whole ‘life’ thing out on their own.
We know obedience is good for our childrens physical well-being but what about the spiritual and the state of their heart? Perhaps I am a bit slower, but I honestly only just came to terms with the part obedience took on the spiritual well-being of my children. Shamefully I confess, I just wanted them to listen so they wouldn’t drive me bonkers and wouldn’t make me look bad in front of other people. Selfish, right? Majorly selfish! I knew that the bible told children to obey and honor their parents but realizing how important that was for the hearts of my children didn’t happen until this past year. Now, with God showing me the error of my ways, I have come to terms with how important my job is to teach and train my children in obedience. If I fail at that, than I may as well have failed as a mom.
(Does this mean I am a perfect mother and I have wonderful children that obey 100% of the time? No. Big NO!!! My children are human beings that sin and fail just like me. But when it comes to learning the art of obedience, I want my children to always be getting better and moving forward in the right direction. So with that being said, lets continue.)
Now, I am speaking of obedience in the physical sense but also in the spiritual. We can train our children obedience but if they have an attitude of defiance while doing what is asked, then their is still a seed of rebellion in their hearts. That must be addressed as well. Outward and inward obedience is what I am writing about today. Both are of equal importance. You can really not have one without the other.
What does the bible say about children being obedient and why do I believe it is fundamental in the training of our children?
Firstly, it is one of the commandments of God. So I figure, it must be pretty important. Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” *Paul also mentions this verse in Ephesians 6:1-2 telling children to “obey your parents in the lord for this is right.” This is the first commandment with a promise. I beautiful promise that shows us that God wants to give good things to his children. He wants us to live well. But that can only happen when we are obedient. Why? Why is being obedient to parents so important to God’s heart?
I truly believe that it is so important to God for this reason- If a child never learns to respect, honor and obey his/her parents than they will lack the discipline to honor and obey God. If a child is never trained to trust in the word of authority how will they ever trust the authority of God. When God asks them to do something that doesn’t make sense, will your child obey, trusting the authority of God, or will they shrug off God’s commands not wanting to do it for lack of wanting to know ‘WHY’?
Doing as God has commanded and listening to His word is of utter importance to God. In Deuteronomy 12: 28 God says, “Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in sight of the Lord your God.” And farther down in verse 32 He repeats himself, “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.”
Jesus also states int he New Testament, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me….If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word; and my father will love him…” John 14:21 & 23
Another excellent point, “If you love me you will do what I command.” When we obey, we show our love for God. When our children obey it is a way for them to express love. Love for us and love for God. That is the greatest commandment is it not? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5.
When our children obey, they open a door for God’s blessing to overflow on them. (Look at Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 to see the wonderful list of blessings that God promises to Israel if they kept his commands.) They please God and God’s love is able to overflow over them. I don’t know about you, but I want God’s blessings over my kids. I want them to dwell in the presence of God and I want the love of God to overshadow them. And if teaching them obedience is what can help that happen, than I want to do my job well and not give into laziness and passivity.
There is also a fine line that us a parents need to make sure we do not cross when demanding obedience from our children. Paul goes on to mention in Ephesians 6, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” verse 4. I believe Paul mentioned this because we as parents can over due the demand of obedience. Everything we do must be done in love. Do not demand the impossible from your children. Know that mistakes will happen. Use those times to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Never demand perfection. Never expect your children to want to lovingly obey you if you show little to know interest in them. Training our children in obedience takes a lot of time and a lot of love. Fellowship with our kids is vital. Make them want to obey you. If our children do not find great joy in us they will not find great joy in obeying us.
This idea of obedience may seem over bearing and impossible. Perhaps you are thinking I seem like a nasty dictator. I promise I am not. Merely, my main point is: As parents in our lazy, passive culture, we are in danger of failing our children. We are in danger of not training our children in one of the greatest disciplines they can ever learn in their life. All because we are too tired and sick of dealing with it. May we pray for new strength and perseverance so it may never be so.
How Training in Obedience changed my Parenting:
Looking at obedience in the light of God’s blessings over my children has completely changed the way I approach my children. It has given me a more loving, tender heart towards them as I discipline them. Instead of taking their offenses personally I can now take their disobedience and find ways where I need to improve my training. These revelations have also given me new strength. Mothering is daunting and exhausting but when I see how important my role is in teaching them obedience, I don’t want to get lazy and slack off. I don’t want to just let that bad attitude slide or that lack of obedience go unchecked. This job is much too important to give into the lie that I am too tired and I can’t do it anymore. I want the best for my children. And many times, their best comes at a high and inconvenient cost to me.
God bless. And I hope that this article can be an encouragement to some of you.
**What creative consequences do you give your children when they are disobedient? I would love to hear what works for other moms out there. I am always learning and love advice.***