As Obedient Children
Have you ever considered how important it is for you, as a young believer, to be in subjection to your parents? Many of your school chums may ridicule such an idea because they succeed in getting their own way without suffering any parental discipline. The ways of the world, however, should never be used as a pattern for the Christian’s conduct. Our guidance comes from the Bible in which a prominent place is given to the subject of obedience, as we shall notice.
When Adam was first formed and placed in the Garden of Eden, he brought ruin upon all creation because of his disregard for the word of God. Romans 5:19 tells us that by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so we see the far-reaching effect of this one sin.
In the law of the Ten Commandments, given to Israel at Mount Sinai, there was a special promise of reward to those who would honour their father and mother: “That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:11).
This same thought is repeated in the New Testament, for as Paul writes on the important subject of the believer’s conduct, he says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise” ( Ephesians 6:2).
Another point is added in Colossians 3:20, “Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.” When you submit yourself to the will of your earthly father you gladden the heart of your Heavenly Father, for He sees in you a likeness to His Son, Who did always those things which pleased Him (John 8:29), and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).
There may be times when you rebel inwardly, perhaps because you feel your parent is wrong or harsh in the ruling or command given. Remember, young reader, that as yet you have neither the knowledge nor the experience to judge fully on the matter. In all likelihood, when you are older you will see the wisdom of his action, which now is so grievous to you, so do not question, but obey.
This may be hard for you to do, but obeying your parents is one of the things which, according to Colossians 3:23-24, may be done heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men, knowing that ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance. By your willing subjection to your father and mother you are actually serving the Lord Christ. Prompted by this motive, you will find your heart more ready to conform to their wishes for you.
In the Scriptures, another form of obedience is enjoined upon young Christians. “Obey them that have the rule over you” (Hebrews 13:17). The margin of some Bibles explains these are guides among the saints, or the elders or overseers who watch for the souls of the lambs of the flock. In 1 Peter 5:5, we read, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.”
You will thus see that God has plainly commanded in His Word that the young saints show respect and obedience to those who guide the flock and act as leaders in the assembly. You cannot be obedient children in the sight of God unless you humbly respect these men whom the Lord has gifted and raised up to serve Him in the teaching of the Scriptures and the maintaining of the testimonies to His Name.
Above all, we must obey God, for He is our Heavenly Father and we have become His spiritual children through our acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name” (John 1:12).
The sinner is characterised by disobedience, having turned every one to his own way (Isaiah 53:6). As the heart becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, the unconverted person grows stubborn and rebellious against the Almighty, with the result that he is exposed to the righteous judgment and wrath of the offended God.
When one is born again, the stony heart is made soft through the working of the Holy Spirit, so that there is a willingness to submit to the commands of the Lord. Saul of Tarsus, on the Damascus Road, gave evidence of a complete inward change when he said, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). The divinely imparted life would lead one to do the will of the Lord from the heart (Ephesians 6:6).
A knowledge of the Word of God is essential for the carrying out of His will. You must therefore give yourself to the careful reading of your Bible, seeking from its pages to learn all that God would have you to do. If you are willing to be guided, the Lord will be faithful in revealing His truth to you. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17). As he unfolds each step to you, endeavour by His grace to walk in the way of His commandments. Each act of obedience leads you into a closer relationship to Himself and into the revelation of further truth as to His will for you.
God’s purpose in saving us was that we should be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). One way in which we may reveal the Christlike character is by our obedience. During His life He could say, “I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me” (John 6:38). At the hour of His death, He declared, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). Later, from Hebrews 10, we learn that the words of Psalm 40:8 came from the Lord Jesus Himself, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.”
Notice that this delighting to do the Father’s will goes beyond mere obedience. For example, I may say to my little boy, “Jimmy, pick up your toys and put them away before supper.” That is a task he does not enjoy, so it may be only after the threat of punishment that he reluctantly obeys. On another occasion I may say, “Jimmy, how would you like to fetch my keys from the desk?” Away he runs to fulfil my desire, returning with the keys and a glad smile on his face. In this case, he delights to do my will.
The Lord Jesus was ever ready and eager to carry out His Father’s desire; this is why the heavens were opened and a voice was heard, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
How delighted our Heavenly Father must be when His redeemed people show a similar willingness and eagerness to follow His commandments as obedient children. May each one, in sincerity of heart, say like Samuel, “Speak, for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:9). Then, having learned the will of God, may each one also honestly testify, like Paul, “Whereupon I was not disobedient” (Acts 26:19).