Thursday, February 14, 2008

Essential #2: Obedience and a Cheerful Heart

Today's topics of essentials and good-to-haves are obedience and a cheerful heart. For me, obedience, an essential, falls on the heels of love. As I read in 2 John, a small, often overlooked book of the bible, this is what I have found in chapter 1, verses 5-6:

And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Disclaimer: This is what we do in our will have your own convictions of what you do in your home and you will answer to the Lord for that. However, we will also answer to the Lord for how we have raised our own children, and this is the command we have been given. For our children, we are continually training them to obey "right away, all the way, with a good attitude everyday." This is the mantra at our home when someone isn't obeying as they should according to the word of God. It goes something like this: Little Byers isn't obeying fully and so one parent will say: "How do we obey?" and then they will respond with the above quote. Most of the time there is also discipline to go along with said words...for they did not obey fully.

It is the same in our lives, when we do not obey fully, there is discipline from the Lord. We may not see the consequences right away for our decisions, but it will come. We may even feel that it was a small disobedience, nothing of magnitude. However, consider this, when your children disobey in the small things is it not the same sin as when they disobey in the big things....and if they do not choose to obey in the small things, why would they choose to obey in the big things? If, as the scripture states, love is to obey His commands, and we are to love at all times, then when is it OK to not obey?

Here, another scripture comes to mind from Romans 6:16:

Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Now, just so you know, and lest you think I am not keen to this in my own life, I am writing this post as a reminder to myself as well. For I need to continually remind myself to whom I am bound, and I surely want it to be the Lord Jesus Christ!

Let's get back to the mantra of obedience in my home. Many of us understand how to obey "right away," (when you're told), and even how to obey "all the way," (doing fully what you're told), but many of us do not do it "with a good attitude, everyday." Now this may seem silly to you, but we require this of our children out of the command to "honor your father and mother" and out of "treating others with respect." If our children do what we ask of them and do it when we ask it, but complete the task grumbling and pouting...have they fully obeyed? They may have completed the task, but they have sinned in honoring their father and mother and in treating others with respect. How is it not the same for us as we respond to our Heavenly Father, Our Loving God when he asks something of us and we do it begrudgingly? I can find no difference. As well, I have found that the Lord provides instruction and promise in the Proverbs, to no surprise, regarding the cheerful heart (in other words...your good attitude):

Proverbs 15:13: A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Proverbs 17:22: A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

As you go about your tasks, for the day, week, month and year, it is my prayer that you, and I, will choose to love our Lord and others as he has commanded, through obedience to Him with a cheerful heart. Even when the task is great, when we keep the essential obedience stocked in our pantry and add the good-to-have cheeful heart, we can expect the promise of Proverbs 15:15 and delight in the continual feast.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for your helpful post! with your permission i'd love to use your quote for our sunday school retreat message.. very catchy and meaningful!