Obedience & Willfulness

Posted: May 24, 2012 in Christianity, Decisions, Obedience, Thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

I have had a few run-ins with my almost-14-year-old daughter.  She’s always been the more out-spoken (and by that I mean mouthy) of my daughters, but she’s also been the daughter I had few problems with obedience – at least in action, if not in attitude.  But lately, she has been pushing the envelope and doing things that are contrary to the rules that have been set for our home.

For instance, I had a rule that Facebook would not be used until they were 14.  She will be 14 in July, and so she’s been begging to have a Facebook.  I have resisted.  However, last week, she won a laptop at her school due to an essay she had to write and good reports from every single one of her teachers.  Had she come and asked me if she could have a Facebook page, I was prepared to say yes due to the good reports and her birthday being so close.  However, she determined that instead of asking, she was just going to “do”.  She created a Facebook.  I found out.  When I asked her to explain her only response was, “I wanted one, so I created one.  Besides, you wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t spied on my computer.”  I’d like to point out at this juncture, that I had warned her that I would be checking her computer periodically to see what she was up to.  However, her response was, “You didn’t earn it.  I did.  You can’t take it away from me, and you can’t tell me what to do on it.”  My response of course was, “I’m your mother, and I will be checking on you because it’s my job to know what you’re doing.”  Needless to say, that was not a fun night.

Fast forward to last night.  One of my hard and steadfast rules is, don’t ask me to be allowed to do things via text – especially when you’re in the same house as me and can walk over and talk to me directly.  My daughter decided that she did not have to follow that rule.  However, she did come talk to me later when I didn’t respond to her, and basically said I had to give her an answer by today.  My answer was “no”.  Now, again, let me take this moment to say, I have said yes to almost everything she has asked for lately, and I had valid reasons for saying no, so I wasn’t being unreasonable.  She did not take that very well, and had a little “pouty” party and refused to say goodbye to me.

I find myself wondering, after episodes like this, if I am crazy for thinking, as a parent who loves and cares for her children on a daily basis, that I am warranted some obedience and respect.  I also wonder what happened to my doting little girl who did what I asked with minimal arguments in the past.  She seems to have been replaced with this willful replica of my daughter.  Some days, I don’t even know if I recognize her.

Now, if I feel that way about my daughter, how much more does God think that of me?  Think about it.  How often have I done something that I know is wrong, just because I wanted to?  How many times does He watch my willful behavior and wonder if I am ever going to get it?  How many times have I gone my own way or had a “pouty” party because I didn’t get what I wanted?  How many times have I rebelled against God?

One of the greatest things I love about God is that even while I know He mourns when I sin, I also know He forgives when I confess and I ask.  That doesn’t mean that I have a right to go out and do wrong things just because I know He will forgive me.  It doesn’t give me license to sin.  What it does do, is free me from the consequence of sin – death.  Because His Son bore my sins when He died on the cross, and then conquered death by rising again from the grave, I now have freedom from sin and death, if I put my faith and trust in Him and follow in His ways.

See, it starts at the time of salvation, but as James says in his letter, “Faith without works is dead.”  Read the following passage, where goes on to explain:

14  What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,16 and one of you says to them, “ Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

18  But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize,you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:14-26 (NASB)

James isn’t saying that I can earn my salvation.  There is nothing I can do to earn Salvation (See Ephesians 2:8-9).  What he is saying is that if I believe, I will act on that belief.  What good is my faith, if I never act on it?  It is just useless words, and it isn’t really faith at all.  But when I act on my faith, and I do good to others, my faith is a living, breathing, active thing.

Look at what Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (NASB)

How do I do this?  By serving others.  I put aside my wilfulness, and I obey God.  As I taught my children when they were little, “Obedience is doing as you are told, right away, all the way, without arguing or complaining.”  Even today, they can still repeat that back to me when I ask them what obedience is.  See, they know it, but it’s hard to do sometimes.  Every day I have to fight my willful spirit and sometimes even have to force myself to do what I know is right – and sometimes I do it kicking and screaming.  I do not always succeed, but on those occasions, I get back up, pray for forgiveness, and start over again – and God says “I forgive you, now go and sin no more.”

Someday, I am sure my children will be in my shoes, and they will be saying similar things to their kids.  When that time comes, I will know that I did my best to teach them to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Until Next Time,

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