As young children, our family lived in the small community of Jeffersonville, Ohio. I have such fond memories of living there, both as a child and an adult.
My father was the minister of the Church of Christ and with growth, a church building was built and the old church building was transformed into a parsonage where our family was to live. All of this was happening about a mile outside of town.
Until it was time to move into the new house, we lived in a beautiful house in town. Again, more fond memories of this grand, spacious place.
On one occasion, my younger brother and I were thoroughly bored at the parsonage while my parents worked diligently to get everything done. So we asked Mom if we could walk home. She said “No.”
We begged her to let us walk home. Then she said, “Don’t you dare get on that road!”
To a 5 and 6 year old, that was permission. We’d just stay off the road. Walk in the ditch along the road. We could do this.
And our journey began.
A kind woman we knew stopped to see if we needed a ride and to make sure we were okay. But honestly, we were having too much fun. We were on an adventure. We were on our own. We continued our walking journey.
As we finally made it into the downtown area of town, walking on the sidewalk I might add, Mom drove up beside us. We knew she was mad.
“Get in this car. Your Dad is bringing a big stick home with him.”
Sometimes we do this same thing with God’s Word. We distort it to be exactly what we want it to say or mean to us. Instead of simply accepting it for what it is, we figure out how to work our way around the commands He has given us through Scripture.
God loves us. He wants what is best for us. So the commands He gives for us to obey have real benefits in our lives. God speaking through the prophet Isaiah said this. “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17b-18 – NIV)
Did you notice the benefits of obeying God in this passage? Peace and righteousness.
We also see from Scripture that if we love God and want to please Him, we will obey.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15 – NIV)
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:3-4 – NIV)
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 – NIV)
And what are the benefits we see in these passages of obedience? Freedom, conquering of the world, victory, rewards and it pleases God. Benefits I believe are worthwhile.
I love how the writer of Hebrews tells us that God’s commands are not burdensome. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew? “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 – NIV)
Suddenly, obedience doesn’t seem so difficult. And again, do you see benefits to obedience? Rest. When we are weary and when we are restless within our souls, Jesus provides the perfect rest.
On that day so long ago, my brother and I were very nervous waiting for Dad to show up “with a big stick.” When he arrived however, he didn’t have a stick.
Oh, I’m sure we were punished, but I certainly don’t remember it. I was just thankful that all was well once again in the Howard household.
I learned a valuable lesson that day about obedience. I’ve learned valuable lessons through the years about obeying God. I’m thankful that in His great love for me, that I am able to do my small part. Are you?
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,