What does obedience have to do with freedom?
There is an old children’s song that perhaps many of you grew up singing in Sunday School. The chorus goes like this (if you know it, sing along):
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
Honestly, I don’t remember much of the rest of the song! But I have heard it sung many times by friends that did grow up in church and the chorus has always stuck with me, and really, the chorus says it all. Biblically, obedience and belief always go hand in hand.
Obedience was never meant to be a bad word. But sadly, obedience has gotten a bad reputation recently. Obedience and grace (or grace and obedience) were never meant to be at odds with one another. It certainly doesn’t have to be, assuming we understand the motivation and fruit of obedience correctly. As we seek to raise children who love God, we must always remember (and help our children remember) that obedience is a blessing, not a curse!
Here are two simple truths to remember (and teach your children) about obedience:
1. Obedience is a REWARD – Psalm 19:9-11
In 13 years of serving in ministry, my husband and I have encountered many people (including families) who have reaped and sown in disobedience. All of us, to varying degrees, have felt the sting of living out of sync with God’s Word and God’s will. It is painful. Obedience on the other hand, doesn’t bring pain, but rather life. Obedience (though it can be costly to stand for truth) always bears the fruit of joy, peace, and freedom. The psalmist, says it this way:
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
2. Obedience is a RESPONSE – Titus 2:11-14
Not only is obedience a reward, but obedience is also a response. In particular, obedience is a response to God’s grace. Grace does not minimize obedience; it gives new motivation for obedience. As Christians, we know that our obedience does not merit God’s favor. Jesus has taken away the penalty and curse of our sin on the cross. His obedience has brought us God’s unmerited favor. We are recipients of God’s unconditional love and grace. The only response is to lovingly obey the God that has rescued us!
Titus 2:11-14 says it this way:
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
I can personally attest to the freedom and peace that obedience has brought to my life. I did not grow up as a Christian, but when I started following Christ in High School I experienced such peace. This peace was from the forgiveness of past sins and the hope of an eternity with God, but it was also because I began to walk in obedience to God’s word. Moms would you join with me in teaching our children the beauty and freedom that comes from grace AND obedience?