One thing that almost all parents, from every walk of life, have in common is the
desire to have obedient children. In fact, I have yet to meet one parent who doesn’t want their child to listen and be well behaved.
On this note, I would like you to consider two things: 1) What is your motivation behind expecting obedience from your child(ren)? And 2) have you taught your child(ren) what the true meaning of obedience is? Do you have an understanding of it yourself?
One of the common misconceptions about Christians is that we do what is right or follow the Lord’s commandments because we are trying to avoid punishment or hardship. But in reality we do what the Lord asks because we love Him (John 14:15) and because of our deep gratitude for what He did for us on the cross.
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4
Do you want your children to obey you because you want what is best for your them and because you are trying to train them up as the Lord asks? Or would you like them to obey because if they listen and do as they are told your life will be so much easier? How many of us could honestly say we haven’t been motivated by the second answer at some point in time?
If we really want our children to be obedient, and obedient for the right reasons, we need to start by showing them that obedience is not a negative thing. The Biblical definition of obedience is to do what the Lord asks of us out of reverence and love for the Lord, not because we are living in fear of punishment. This is the type of obedience that we should want to model for our children.
Remember the verses from Ephesians 6 your just read. We are told “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
How does the Lord discipline His children? Fairly, righteously, and with an never
changing love greater than anything we can imagine.
When we show our children this kind of discipline, it sets the stage for them to show us biblical obedience.
They will also learn biblical obedience when we model it ourselves. When we show them how to do the right thing because we love and respect God, not because we are hoping to get something out of it, we are showing them that obedience can actually make them feel closer to God (or their parents), which leads to a happy home and a life filled with joy.
If we teach them that to obey does not mean they are powerless, but rather that they are showing their parents how much they appreciate them and love them, it changes their perception when they are asked to do something, or asked to follow a rule.
By giving our children practice in our homes with true biblical obedience at an early age, we will be giving them a powerful tool that will help them later in life to discern between obeying what the world tells them to do and obeying what they know their loving Heavenly Father asks of them.
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