Children are taught that obedience is doing what those in authority ask us to do; mom, dad, teachers, police, God, etc. Obedience is that, but as parents we tend to forget to teach that obedience is connected to worship. Many times as Christians we think of worship as singing slow songs to God. Yes, it is that but there are many other ways to express our worship for God. One such way is through the act of obedience.
God smiles when we obey Him wholeheartedly. Wholeheartedly means completely & sincerely devoted. Some synonyms are: committed, unswerving, dedicated, full, total, absolute. That means doing whatever God asks without reservation or hesitation. You don’t procrastinate and say, “I’ll pray about it.” You do it without delay. Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience.
God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything He asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding and as Pastor Tom shared a few weeks ago we grow in authority when we obey.
Often we try to offer God partial obedience. We want to pick and choose the commands we obey. We make a list of the commands we like and obey those while ignoring the ones we think are unreasonable, difficult, expensive or unpopular. I’ll attend church, but I won’t tithe. I’ll read my Bible but won’t forgive the person who hurt me. Yet partial obedience is disobedience.
Wholehearted obedience is done joyfully, with enthusiasm. The Bible says, “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing” (Ps. 100:2). This is the attitude of David: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law and observe it with my whole heart” (Ps. 119:33-34). James, speaking to Christians, said, “You see then how by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). God’s Word is clear: You can’t earn your salvation. It comes only by grace, not your effort. But as a child of God, you can bring pleasure to your heavenly Father through obedience.
Why is obedience so pleasing to God? Because it proves you really love him. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). The commandments are spelled out in the Bible for us to obey. There are the Bible commands and then there are those times we feel that God is telling us to do something. An example that happens often to me is when I’m talking with someone that isn’t a Christian. I feel the Lord telling me that I need to ask that person on the spot if I can pray for them. Sometimes I obey and sometimes I disobey because of fear. I want to be unswerving, committed, and dedicated to those “on the spot” commands.
Every day is full of teaching moments with our children on obedience, an act of worship. They are confronted every day, all day with the opportunity to obey. Ask your children every day what ways that they worshiped God through their acts of obedience. Even discuss the delayed obedience and help them walk through how to be fully obedient. If we ask consistently every day it will become a lifestyle for them to become worshipers of God through their acts of obedience.
Children’s Ministry Director