“Mommy, does God have a family?”
“Yes. We are His family.”
“Yeah, remember? He is our Father in heaven. We are His children.”
My six year old looks puzzled for a moment and then resumes playing with her toys. I think about the scripture verse next in line in my study.
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
The main task for children is always to obey. I suppose the hardest time for children to obey is when they are most busy or when they do not understand. How willing children are to obey at the moment of command – not the moment of understanding – is the true test of obedience.
It is a daily test with my children as well as with myself and my Father God. It almost always starts with a simple one word command, “Child, come.”
“Come here, child.”
I’m sure you know what the response often is from my children when I call without further explanation.
“Why, Mom?” “What do you want, Mom?” “I’m doing something, Mom.” Followed by a slow, “I’m coming…” and subsequent short term memory amnesia.
Somehow, when Daddy says, “Come.” a child quickly appears in front of him, no questions asked save, “Yes, Daddy?”
I have to say my oldest is, and always has been, most compliant. She even answers with a respectful, “Yes Mommy” almost every time I give her an instruction. Maturity breeds obedience. She has learned that disobedience does not end well for her.
Never am I more frustrated than when I call one of my children because I have exciting news or a gift for them and they fail to come.
Oh, that I would learn to quickly appear before my Father every time I hear his calling. No excuses. No inquires. No stalling. No willful amnesia. Just a “Yes, Daddy?” How well my day would go if I would just obey like a mature child rather than an immature rebel. God, help me.
These are Paul’s instructions for children. Obedience is pleasing to the Lord because obeying earthly parents without delay or excuse trains children to obey God without delay or excuse. Failing to teach them to obey us as parents puts them at a great disadvantage in both their physical and spiritual life. I often remind my kids of their duty to obey by asking them in the midst of their disobedience, “What is your #1 job?” They know it is to obey mom and dad because obeying us is obeying God.
The good news is that our Father is not an unjust power hungry control freak. His commands for obedience are rooted in our greatest good. He is gracious and loving toward his children because we are the apples of his eye. There is always a great and exciting gift waiting for those who obey heartily – the abiding presence of God himself.