Tell a toddler to share and they’ll scream in your face. Tell a teenager that midnight is not an acceptable curfew and they’ll… well… probably scream in your face. From day one of our lives we convince ourselves that rules and boundaries are essentially “fun-suckers.”
Our greedy toddler hearts find little joy in sharing and great satisfaction in taking. Teenage drama unfolds because egos are surfacing more forcefully and demand to be pampered while universally hating anyone who doesn’t oblige.
Eventually we reach a place of adulthood where we’re supposedly “mature”. Having learned to share (marginally well) and toughened the exterior of our egos (to an extent) we are now OK with obeying the rules and can acknowledge some merit to their existence.
For example, red light means stop, green light means go. Granted, we (read: I) may still throw temper tantrums when stuck behind a “puttzer” who brakes at yellow lights (who DOES that?!)… but we (I) don’t actually run over them and through the orange light. (Yes. I said orange light and don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about.)
Christians are not immune to this aversion to obedience and Jesus (knowing our stubbornness) addresses it:
“If you love me you will keep my commandments.” – (John 14:15)
Plain and simple. If I love Jesus I will keep his commandments.
But let’s not forget, lest we get lost in a world of legalism or bemoan our inability to love perfectly as He loves perfectly:
- The first step to obeying Jesus, is accepting his grace. This means, as Christians, while we walk with Jesus and strive to be obedient vessels of His kingdom, we are covered, trapped, and all around stuck in his unending, unfathomable grace.
- We have also been equipped to obey. Our obedience is empowered by the Holy Spirit and leads us deeper into the heart of God. So, we are being sanctified (made holy) by the Holy Spirit while simultaneously exhorted to follow Jesus of our own volition. This is complicated to dive into (maybe another post) but for now know this:
If you are a Christian you are being shaped into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit and your obedience to Him is a testament to the world of your love for Him.
Our relationship with Christ begins on the premise that we are not able to obey perfectly but his perfect obedience led to the salvation of mankind. And what did Christ find on the other side of obedience? Glory.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. – Philippians 2:9
What have I found when I am obedient to Christ?
- A mind that is free from the worries of the world (casting all your cares on him because he cares for you – 1 Peter 5:7)
- A heart that is free from the clutch of materialism, comparison, and discontentment (Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” – Hebrews 13:5)
- And a tongue that is free from complaint, gossip, and bitterness. (Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I find freedom.
So, to the tiny toddler and tumultous teenager – listen and obey. You may find that sharing your toys means you have twice as many to play with and a 10PM curfew may not be the end of the world if it means someone is genuinely concerned for your safety. Honor your father and mother.
For all of you hot-headed drivers out there (finger pointed in my face) try using those 30 seconds at the stoplight to be still and give thanks. We both know that inching closer and closer to the puttzer’s bumper
IS! isn’t going to make the light change any faster.
And for you, reader – if you do not know this freedom, know that you can today.
Jesus Christ is the son of God who came into the world, lived a perfect life and died a sinner’s death. He bore every sin committed by mankind, past, present, and future and he defeated all of it by rising from death three days later. He loves you deeply, died for you willingly, and longs for you to know him personally. Ask him to come into your wounded sinner’s heart, transform your life, and bring you into his family. There is no staged prayer to pray, he is not impressed by your eloquence, but can recognize your sincerity.
He already knows you, and I urge you to reciprocate.