LMKTM: Obeying the First Time
My 3 year old son Joey is in a phase. It’s been…challenging at times (note: challenging is the creative word that parents use to keep themselves from utilizing more derogatory adjectives). The phase consists of Jason or I telling Joey something to do (“Pick up your toys, please” or “Joey, please don’t torture the dog”), and Joey, in turn, defying us. Sometimes it’s a verbal defiance – “I don’t waaaaaaaanna!” – or sometimes it’s a bit more subtle, a la us telling Joey to do something and him simply ignoring us. Either way, it’s, well, challenging.
When Joey continues to disobey us, he gets disciplined. It breaks our hearts even more than it breaks his, I assure you, but we have to show him that he needs to listen and obey the first time we tell him to do something. Doesn’t he realize that he could avoid being disciplined altogether if he’d just do what we say the first time around? And…cue my shame and realization as I have a light bulb moment and God speaks to me: Don’t I do the same thing with God?
Sometimes, God speaks to us very clearly and we either flat out refuse to do as He commands, or we simply ignore His voice. Then, when God disciplines us, we get mad and cry and say, “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy? It’s just so unfair!” Actually, it is fair. God is just, and while He is faithful to love us and protect us, He is just as true to His word that He will chasten those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). He must feel like I do with Joey at times: “Wouldn’t it be easier if you just obeyed me the first time, Lis?”
Yes, it would be. Today, take a truly honest look at your life. What has God asked you to do (or to stop doing) that you have yet to comply with? Make it easier on yourself and listen the first time. We can avoid some of the pitfalls of having to be disciplined by God, if we just listen and obey the first time.