Don’t you just love how God speaks to you through a combination of His word and your children? Sometimes it takes a while for me to get it … but when I do … Man! It pierces me.
So I’m sure you can imagine, or for those who have several children already, you know full well the challenges of disciplining children. Not to mention, three boys under the age of 8 and a sweet, yet walking and exploring, 14-month-old baby girl. We definitely have days where the children are especially well-behaved. But most days, they test and push to see how much they can get away with (particularly with all the rain we’ve had this summer which equates to being cooped up).
James and I have tried many different plans of discipline (charts, strike system, etc.), all while praying for the Lord to show us His plan. What will work for our family? And I know you are familiar with how difficult parenting can be, no matter how many kids you have! It’s a tough job! No joke! But it’s also the most precious gift from God. A privilege. A reward.
Recently, while hanging out with some dear friends, we started discussing what the bible says about discipline. This family is so special to us. They are godly and wise. And they have some children who are older than ours, so we glean from them. In talking that evening, we all agreed that first-time obedience is what children need to accomplish. The motto at our sons’ previous Christian school is: “Obey – right away, all the way, everyday, in a cheerful way!” And I love it!
When James and I debriefed after such a good talk with our friends, we decided to try things a little different. Our children have never been crazy bad, per say. But we so desire to achieve complete obedience with them now so that later on in life, when there’s a lot on the line, they will be trained in obedience. This is huge to us! So we explained to our children that we expect them to obey us, and that going forward, we are doing things differently. No more warnings. No more threats. We give the direction and expect their direct obedience in respect. Anything less than a simple yes ma'am or no ma’am (or sir) along with obedience (such as talking back, whining, asking WHY, disregarding what we say, or dare I say – telling us NO) is direct disobedience, and we will no longer tolerate it. Zero tolerance in the form of immediate discipline. Yeah, spelling all that out seems a little harsh, but once they ‘get it,’ oh my goodness, things are grand! We have seen a huge difference, especially in our spunky and active three-year-old! (I could go into the whole spill about why children need boundaries, why they need to learn direct obedience early in life, and so on and so forth. But that’s another post for another day.)
As I was drying my hair, I was praying about the scripture I read this morning in 1 Samuel 15 that so ministered to me. I’ve been chewing on it and thinking about it, trying to let it sink in to my spirit and mind.
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”
- 1 Samuel 15:22 NLT
Saul didn’t directly and completely obey God. He did what he thought would be okay, instead of exactly what God commanded.
Sure. Sacrifices and offerings seemed good. God has asked for those before. But God gave specific instructions for this specific time, and he expected direct and complete obedience.
So back to praying while drying my hair … as clear as day, God said to me in my spirit, “Christa, do you directly obey me? You have been enforcing this with your children at home. But are you also obeying me the first-time I ask and completely?”
Wow! Talk about His words being sharp! He cut to the core with that one. There are several things I’ve been thinking and praying about that require God-sized answers. I need to hear from Him before I do anything. And I feel like He is causing me to evaluate my own obedience to Him from the past, present, and what He expects of me in the future, no matter how difficult or daunting the task may be. He expects full obedience and submission!
Friends, as you seek the Lord, His word will change you. It requires action. And when He speaks, He expects us to listen and obey.
God, today I desire to completely and directly obey you right away. Show me all the ways that I have been disobedient. I repent for my disobedience, Lord. Make me right with you, Father, so our fellowship is unobstructed. And help me to walk forward with you leading me that I may be a faithful, obedient follower. I love you, Lord! Amen!