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FOCUS OF THE MONTH: WHAT IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD
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Our modern culture really pushes freedom, to the point of self-contradiction. As long as you accept anyone’s authority over you, we are subtly and not so subtly told, you are not really free. It is therefore very important to counteract this false idea of self-autonomy with the recognition that true freedom, freedom from sin, is only found in obedience to God, which includes honoring and obeying parents. Take time this month to discuss, as a family, how our fallen nature, in rebellion against God, falls under the control of temptations, worldly cultural influences, and selfish desires—this form of “freedom” is the greatest slavery of all! For week one, ask the first question over an unhurried meal. Let the children think about it and then offer their own answers. The children should talk more than the parents. Throughout the week, offer the different reasons highlighted and let the children discuss them. (Parents, read through the relevant Bible passages in advance.) Challenge the children to look up other verses addressing the question. Do the same for the following questions each week for the month.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY GROW
Why does God want us to obey Him?
Read: Genesis 2:16-17, Deuteronomy 5:1-24 and 28:1-14, 2 Corinthians 10:3-8
- Only God knows perfectly what is best for us and our happiness; when we try to do things our own way, we invariably make mistakes and fall short of the goal. Obeying God is the only way to know we are doing the right thing, that will work out the best for everyone, including ourselves, in the end.
- Adam and Eve, our first parents, rejected God’s authority and fell into sin. After the Fall, the original state of perfect communion between God and man was broken, meaning that we can no longer know what God wants for us without being told. Even if we don’t immediately understand all of God’s commands, we must trust in His Wisdom and obey.
- Obedience is connected to trust and respect. It actually comes from a Latin word meaning “to hear.” When we obey God, it is a sign that we really trust Him and are listening to what He is saying, and truly believe that He knows best. If we don’t obey God, we are essentially saying, “I know better than You do,” which is precisely what happened in the Garden of Eden.
What is obedience?
Read: 1 Peter 1:13-25
- Listening to what God says in the Bible.
- Following Jesus as His disciple.
- Serving others, not putting ourselves first
- Being polite and following the rules of good society to show our consideration and respect for others.
- Trusting that God’s way will be best for us, rather than our own or the world’s way.
How is obedience to parents connected to obedience to God?
Read: Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:20-24, Hebrews 12:9
- By thanking Him in prayer and song and through attending church.
- By remembering and discussing the great things He has done — Jesus left us the memorial of His death and resurrection in the Lord’s Supper, which is a very special form of worship.
- By celebrating His gift of salvation and other blessings in this life — in church, during religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving, and rejoicing in God’s love all the time.
- Worship demonstrates both our closeness to God and our respect for God — when we pray or attend worship services, it is a time to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). But at the same time, God expects us to enjoy the time we spend with Him — He enjoys spending time with us!
How does obedience make us free from sin?
Read: 1 Samuel 15:22, Romans 6:16-18, Philippians 2:5-13
- Obedience shows our thankfulness to God for His Salvation. If we have truly repented and accepted His Salvation in faith, our new freedom from sin displays itself in obedience.
- When we obey God, we learn the distinction between righteousness and sin without having to go through painful experiences first to show us the consequences of sin in our own lives. We do not have to guess what is right and what is wrong, often making mistakes in judgment, because God always tells us in His Word exactly what we need to do, to keep us from falling into sin.
- Obeying God makes sense, because His way is always better in the end — when we try to disobey and do things our own way, we always end up more miserable and mixed up. We can’t see the future, but God does; His instructions take all the circumstances into account, which we can’t do, so naturally His way would make more sense!
- But at the same time, temptation can sometimes be very strong and seem as if it would work in the present situation; but if we are accustomed to obeying God in the little things, we will be better able to resist temptations and obey Him in the large situations where disobedience could be very hurtful and dangerous and deadly. In the same way, if we are used to obeying our parents when they tell us to do our chores, we will be more likely to obey them immediately when they warn us to get out of the way of a speeding car.
- Obedience creates closer relationships — we obey those whom we trust, and when we obey them, they know that they can trust us with great responsibilities and freedom to carry them out.
- Obedience lets us have more fun — when people listen to and respect each other’s wishes instead of quarrelling and everyone insisting on having our own way, we can all work together in a proper social order that allows us to arrange very special occasions, like putting together a big fair or Christmas party or church supper that requires lots of people to work together and listen to the leaders in charge of the event. (If we don’t obey them, we won’t have the event at all — the people who obey instructions are just as important as those who give them!)
- Obedience allows us to be creative. Obedient people can carry out the missions they are given in multiple ways. Loving one’s neighbor, for instance, can be done differently by people with different talents and ideas.
- Obeying God allows us to really get to know Him and ourselves, as we were created by Him, and He will bless us for it in Heaven with Him forever, freed from sin and temptation and trouble.