Obedience is probably one of the most difficult components in What and Whom we HONOR. The reason being, it requires us to focus outside of OURSELVES.
If you’ve ever had a child, you will know what I mean. A child wants what it wants because when they are young, it’s totally all about themselves. As parents, we set rules for our children. Some are for their safety, some are so they build morals and values, some are so they can learn how to interact socially and develop a sense of being a part of a family, a group and the world. They realize through obedience that it’s not all about them.
When the child learns they will be rewarded if they decide to do what they want to do, within the rules, they start gravitating toward those CHOICES. When the child chooses to act selfishly and go outside of the rules, the parent will impose consequences until the child decides they just aren’t going to do that anymore. They don’t like the feeling of the consequence.
Obedience is not a FUN concept for most of us. It tests us, restricts us, limits us, denies us. We may perceive that it’s uncomfortable, stifling our creativity, leaving us feeling like we are missing out. If you have a teenager you can watch the angst the development of obedience creates daily!
As we grow up and mature we learn how to appreciate OBEDIENCE in ourselves and others. We learn that we like REWARDS that make us feel good and we avoid consequences that make us feel bad.
When we make CHOICES on how we are going to live, including Whom and What we HONOR, we look at why we BELIEVE in them, and what it is about them that we want to bring to our life; what we are willing to become obedient to, in order to design our lives.
In general, no one does or believes in anything if they aren’t going to get something physical or emotional out of it. And, if we don’t feel the payoff is worth it, chances are we are not going to believe it, honor it, or ever become disciplined enough to think we could get it. We have all learned the concept of “what we reap, is what we will sow”.
If we Honor God, we value the vision of living in Heaven in the next life. If we honor our parents, we value the loving relationship that we grow. If we honor our spouses, we are rewarded with intimate love and the life built from it. If we honor our profession, we are rewarded with integrity and the fulfillment of working with purpose. Whatever we find value in, we will become obedient to get the payoff.
Let’s face it, we all wish we could be FREE SPIRITS, able to do what we want when we want and reap all the JOYS of this life and the next! I’m not saying that we can’t… just that there are parameters. When we realize that with every FREEDOM comes a SELFLESSNESS RESPONSIBILITY and discipline in discerning our choices. Now you might be saying, well that’s not really FREEDOM then. But the contrary is really true.
If everyone just did whatever they wanted, with no sense of order or regard for anyone else, this world would be absolute pandemonium. We would be reduced to chaos, mayhem and all kinds of social distress. We would be more enslaved than we could ever imagine. But if we found JOY in the obedience, focusing on the desired outcome, we would all enjoy the effort a whole lot more.
Let me give you an example. I love fast cars. I have wanted for so long, to just get in a Mustang GT, pull out on a long stretch of open road and just light it up with my foot and the gas pedal to the floor. Now if I just did that, chances are I would end up making all kinds of problems for myself and a whole lot of innocent bystanders. But, if I were to RESPONSIBLY take that same car to a racetrack, and do the exact same thing, within the parameters of the track–I can drive as fast as I want…FREEDOM!!
Here’s another one. Let’s say that you HONOR your spouse…you made that CHOICE when you took your vows. In HONORING your spouse you agree to LOVE them, CHERISH THEM, CLING TO THEM, SUPPORT THEM, AND BE FAITHFUL TO THEM. If you choose to take them for granted, attempt to control them, ignore them or take your affections to someone else…you are NOT honoring them or the marriage. So how do you think that they would or should REWARD you for your choices?? With their LOVE, AFFECTION, HONOR and RESPECT in return?? Probably not.
What if you decided to do all those same things WITH them instead of outside of your marriage. What if you were loving to them, supportive of them, paid attention to them, showed gratitude toward them? Same exact thing, just within the perameters YOU CHOSE and BELIEVED IN. Now how do you think you will be rewarded? Probably with the outcome you wanted when you got married.
For those who believe in the Promises of Eternity/Heaven…God requires a certain Obedience and if you say that you HONOR Him, then you must CHOOSE to follow his RULES. If you have envisioned the rewards you want to receive after your Earthly life, you value them, and HONOR them, then be obedient the way the Lord has guided you. Keeping that vision of Heaven at the front of your mind as you move through this Earthly life, makes it a whole lot easier to CHOOSE to live by His word. If you lose sight of the REWARD, then you might develop disdain for His rules or choose to live selfishly. If you CHOOSE not to follow them, then don’t expect the REWARD.
Remember, WHAT YOU GIVE IS WHAT YOU GET…In all these examples, when it becomes all about YOU…that’s where we start facing serious consequences of compromised integrity, loneliness, property damage, broken relationships, no joy, lack of eternal peace, etc. So, the idea that obedience is a drag is really contradictory and the thought of believing that we could somehow be happy without being OBEDIENT really seems absurd.