Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 1-The "O" Word

No people. I am not talking about octopus or origami or oral surgery or organism or Oprah. And neither I'm I referring to *that* word so get your minds out of the gutter!

I am talking about OBEDIENCE.

Now, I feel I must tell you up front that we don't have those kind of problems in my home. No ma'am, no way! I have 4 completely compliant, agreeable, and obedient children. Yes ma'am, I do! Not a behavior problem one under this roof, I swear on the tree outside that I hate and wish would come crashing down! So hope everything works out for ya in the obedience department, good luck, have a nice day.

OK...I lied. I mean I bold-faced lied. Obedience is a topic that gets discussed a lot in this house because we seem not to see very much of it! And I'm just going to assume for the sake of making me feel better that you have the same problem. If you don't, then humor me!

I once heard a very smart parent say that the way a person obeys his parents as a child is the same way he will obey God as a adult. I have to be honest, that's kind of a scary thought. But what I am figuring out is that teaching my kids obedience is less about asserting my authority over them and breaking their spirits until they become like little robots, and more about issues of the heart.

I want my kids to know that I am their biggest fan, I want all good things for them, I would never bring harm to them intentionally. I want them to know that God has crazy-amazing things in store for their lives and those things can only happen if they are obedient to Him. And I tell them all the time that the first step to obedience is to obey your parents.

Last week in Sunday School we learned about the Battle of Jericho. The city of Jericho had a HUGE wall all the way around it like a fort. It was 25 ft. tall and 20 ft. thick! Holy Cow...that was a big 'ol fort. The Israelite Army (God's people) were given specific instructions on how they were to overtake the city of Jericho, which was unpenitratable! Here were the ridiculous instructions:

Day 1: March silently one time around the walls of Jericho, then go back to your camp.
Day 2: March silently one time around the walls of Jericho, then go back to your camp.
Day 3: March silently one time around the walls of Jericho, then go back to your camp.
Day 4: March silently one time around the walls of Jericho, then go back to your camp.
Day 5: March silently one time around the walls of Jericho, then go back to your camp.
Day 6: March silently one time around the walls of Jericho, then go back to your camp.
Day 7: March six times around the walls of Jericho blowing your horns the entire time, then on
the seventh time blow your horns and shout to the Lord.

Then the walls collapsed and the army overtook the city of Jericho.

Ya know what I realized, nothing the Israelite army did had anything to do with the walls of Jericho collapsing. God could have taken down those walls anytime and anyway he chose. But he wanted to know that His people were going to obey Him, that no matter how ridiculous the instructions were, whether they understood the instructions or not, and no matter how many times He asked them to do the same thing over and over again...He wanted to know that they were going to obey Him. And because they did obey him to the letter...they got the privilege of seeing a mighty miracle happen that day. A miracle that only the Lord himself could perform! The walls of Jericho, 25 feet high and 20 feet thick could not keep God out!

I like to think that the walls imploded and not an Israelite was injured in the rubble. I like to think that it happened within the blink of an eye, I like to think that there were people using the bathroom inside Jericho who didn't even have time to pull their gowns down!

I want my little ones to witness miracles and wonders in their lifetime, but the bible makes it clear they must learn obedience to their parents first in order to experience the blessings that come through obedience to God.

I play this obedience game with my kids sometimes where I will ask them to do something totally silly and pointless. The other day JD was sitting in the front seat and I told him to take off his shoes and socks. And he did. Then I told him to roll down the window. And he did. Then I told him to stick his feet out the window. He hesitated and kept asking me why and I never answered his questions. Even though he was totally embarrassed to be driving down the road with his feet hanging out like a bunch of red-necks, he did it. And I told him I was really proud of him! But I want him to get to a point that he obeys quickly without hesitation or questions. Because that's how I want him to obey God. Now the obedience game has to come with some rules. Your kids have to know that you would never ask them to do anything illegal, immoral, or anything that would harm them or someone else. Those are YOUR rules that you must abide by and they have to trust you! But the rules that they have to abide by are that they MUST obey what they are told to do, quickly, joyfully, and without questions.

So go ahead, stick a goofy pair of sunglasses in your purse and tell your daughter to walk into a convenient store with them on. Or tell your preschooler to shout "yippee" in the middle of Walmart as loud as she can! Or have your son stick his feet out the's a game and it's all in good fun, but they will get the picture. You want them to obey you so that they can then learn to obey God.

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