“Being wanted is the fuel for obedience.” That sentence — in the sermon Bethany and I were listening to as we drove down the freeway – provided an answer to a question I have often puzzled over. What was it my parents did that made me want to obey them? I especially wanted to please my father. Disobeying him just didn’t seem like an option. I loved him too much to want to hurt him with my disobedience.
I knew he loved me. He did things with me. He bragged about me. He encouraged me and talked to me. He did Jumble Word puzzles with me and laid on the sofa to listen to me practice the piano. He gave me hugs and presents and time. He wanted me. I wasn’t an interruption in his life. I was his daughter, and he was glad I was. So was I. I knew he would love me, no matter what I did, and that made me want to do whatever would please him most.
God loves me even more than my dad did. He loves me perfectly and infinitely and unconditionally. He chose me, and there was absolutely nothing I could or ever will be able to do to earn that favor. He loves me because He has chosen to love me. He wants me. He will never let me go. He will never leave me.
He wanted me so much that He gave His Son to die for me. That’s fuel for obedience! That’s what inspires my love and my desire to obey Him – not a list of rules that I try to obey in order to get God to like me. He already likes me. That love frees me to love him in return and to express my love by doing whatever will please Him.
When our children don’t want to obey, we ought to step back and prayerfully ask ourselves if they feel wanted. Are we doing anything that unwittingly tells them that we don’t like them or that we will only love them when they behave in certain ways? Are we firmly assuring them of our love?
And more importantly, are we assuring them of God’s love? Do we believe that God loves and wants us? And do our children really understand how much He wants and loves them?
(Photo from Shutterstock.com)