This is daily communication between my children and me. Yes, we repeat this phrase constantly, yet still it seems to be only a suggestion rather than a discipline. *head desk*
When our children are young, we need them to obey immediately when told. Sometimes this is a life or death situation. I remember when our first child was a baby I had these completely irrational visions of an 18 wheeler running over her the moment she stepped a toe over the edge of the driveway. With this disaster on loop in my first – time – mom brain, I needed her to obey when I would yell “Stop!” Now, the reality of violence in our world dictates different reasons for our children to obey the first time. Nine years ago before Bookworm was born, I did not envision having a very real conversation about how she and her siblings need to obey the first time in a crisis situation.
The thing is, this practice is not exclusive to children. God demands this of His children (even the adults ones) as well. So often we justify our disobedience to God by claiming our partial obedience. Uh, no!
James reminds us that partial obedience is complete disobedience, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10, NIV) He’s talking to you and me! Yikes! That’s some conviction, right?!
We like to convince ourselves that God needs us, but He doesn’t. I mean, he created-the world! What can I bring to the table that God needs to complete any plan? Nuthin’. Buuut, He does want us to love Him. What does that look like?
“If you love me, keep my commands” John 14:15 NIV
Yeah, all those very clear rules that he gave us so long ago still apply today. Each person’s struggle with obedience is different. I, uh, ahem, need to focus specifically on, ahem, closing my mouth (a lot) more. I know that if left unchecked, my mouth can spew the most venomous words that devastate others permanently. I love Him because He first loved me. He loved me so much that Christ died for me. He’s not asking ME to get on the cross. He’s asking me to shut my trap. I have no other choice but to apologize to him for my disobedience when I choose not to obey the first time and pray for his guidance to help me. Help me obey. Help me show Him I love Him more than I love my sin.