Those who spend time with our family would hear me say this a lot: Obedience means that you obey now. Right away. Immediately.
Not after you think about it. Not in a little bit. Not when you are ready to obey. The only time that is appropriate for obedience is the moment you receive the instruction, not when you decide you want to obey.
Oh how difficult is this lesson! And how deceitful is the heart.
I do the exact thing I am teaching my sons not to do. Seeing my own foolishness in them stirs in me much annoyance -- and much fear -- as I know exactly where this path leads. Been there. At the same time, it also stirs up compassion for their little souls, and the urgency to steer them away.
They must learn to heed my voice, and trust in my love for them. Obeying right away can be the difference between life and death. And yet, I am somehow able to justify that my own sin is not as deadly.
When God instructs, I beg for more time. Or, I demand more time. Or, I simply ignore his commands. What makes it worse is that in my delay I start basking in my self-righteousness and consoling myself with my OK-ness. When the truth is that I am as OK as a four-year-old walking accross a busy intersection, and as safe as a two-year-old opening the door of a burning oven.
Well, at least I am aware that I need to be more consistent in my prayer life, or reading and meditating God's Word. Next year, I will serve and participate more at church. I promise I will be more hospitable or more patient after my pregnancy, or when the kids are older. I will reach out to that person at church when I finish this project. I will be more faithful in my church attendance after this season exams or (activity of your choice). I will put an end to this fling after graduation, it's not like I am going to marry him. I promise I will stop wasting time. This is the last (fill in the blank) I will ever watch. I need more time to think about getting baptized. This is a big decision! This is so hard! I am sure God understands.Promising to obey is not obeying. Thinking about obeying is not righteousness. If I am not obeying right now, I am not obeying. Like Jonah, my prayers can be so full of conceit and deceit when the only prayer acceptable to God is the prayer of repentance.
I know I am asking my children to do a hard thing. An impossible thing, in fact. Immediate obedience requires death. To deny our own understanding, intuition, curiosity, and desires, and simply trust in the wisdom of our Father.
Thanks be to God that Christ has first demonstrated his obedience to the Father on the cross. The great shepherd laid down his life for his sheep. I can stand before the throne of grace only because I am covered in his blood, clothed in his obedience.