I’m typically not a fan of ANYTHING hanging on the front of our fridge but because I own the rights to the “Decorate the Fridge Veto Power,” I decided I could make an exception.
So, in an attempt to reinforce the words of Ephesians 6:1 (“Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right”), we have been using these
super creative masking-taped letters to encourage acts of obedience.
Since I’m a therapist, a “recovering legalist,”
slightly obsessive, and a Type A Cubbie Mom who wants to be cooperative in completing the weekly book activities, I’ll spare you all the painstaking thoughts and concerns that I had to sort through before concluding that it was indeed okay to proceed with this harmless, reinforcing activity.
So, throughout this week, each time Caden obeys, he gets to tape a letter to the fridge. Upon completion of the word, “obey,” I then reward him with a small treat (like gummi bear small). In addition to his treats, I have also been reminding him of the following:
Obedience is a way to show his love to his parents and God.
Obedience is not always rewarded.
Our love and God’s love is not earned by acts of obedience.
Our love and God’s love is not lost because of disobedience.
Outward obedience without inward obedience is not honoring or loving.
…OH GEE, I’m not sparing you the obsessive details, am I?
Cue: Mental Movement Forward
So as we went throughout our first day with the O-B-E-Y letters, achieving obedient victories, biting the heads off colored bears, and leaving fingerprints all over the fridge, I found myself drawn to the placement of Caden’s letters.
To prevent annoyance and sore fingers (what a considerate blogger I am), let me go ahead and provide you with another glance at our fridge letters.
As I stood staring at the fridge, I found myself drawn to that solitary ‘Y’.
And as I stood and stared, the following thought hopped into my “desperately-needing-to-be-highlighted-head”: “Why is it hard to obey?”
Obedience isn’t always easy.
“Abraham, please take your only son to the top of that mountain and sacrifice him.” -Genesis 22
Obedience isn’t always fun.
“Moses, please lead these hungry, thirsty, tired, and very grumpy people through a desert for 40 years.” -Exodus 16
Obedience isn’t always logical.
“Joshua, please take your army and march around the city seven times and then blow your trumpets.” -Joshua 6
Obedience isn’t always comfortable.
“Noah, please build a huge ark in the middle of the desert even though there is no rain and everyone is laughing at you.” -Genesis 5
Obedience isn’t always fair.
“Paul, please go preach the Gospel even though you will be jailed, beaten, flogged, pummeled with rocks, shipwrecked, lost at sea, hungry, cold, rejected, and even hated.” -2 Corinthians 11
Obedience isn’t always popular.
“Ezekiel, please go tell my people that I am going to punish them for their sins.” -Ezekiel 2
Obedience isn’t always about us.
“Jesus, please give up your place in heaven, go to earth, live among sinners, suffer, and then die on the cross for all the disobedient people that have ever or will ever live.” -Philippians 2
As I thought through the reasons for why obedience is a hard concept for me to embrace (along with all those great men of faith), I decided I would ask Caden his thoughts on the matter.
Interrupting his game of “cup jumping” (don’t judge…it was raining, and he had way too much energy for my liking), I posed the question.
“Caden, why is it hard to obey?”
With absolutely no hesitation to his answer or his jumps, he responded, “I sin.”
Thinking he hadn’t heard, I repeated the question again.
“Caden, why is it hard to obey?”
“I already told you, Mommy. Because I sin!”
As I watched him continue to jump a row of plastic cups, I sat there and thought a little longer on his three year-old answer.
His answer was simple and yet theologically deeper than any of the reasons my 31 year-old noggin had summoned.
It’s elementary and straightforward: Obedience is hard because we are sinners.
And because we are sinners, we need His grace to obey.
Yes, of course, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Noah, Paul, and Ezekiel were willing to obey, but it was God’s empowering grace that helped them willingly obey His commands.
Oh, Lord, continue to download your grace on this soul of mine. Help me embrace your great grace, willingly obey your loving and all-knowing commands, and live an obedient life that honors you.