When Obedience Sounds Like a Four Letter Word

Throughout life we are called to be obedient; however even at the very beginning of life we rebel against it.  As toddlers we seek to control our world, and we fight against the authority of our parents.  Our parents tell us to sit down, and we stand up.  Our parents tell us to come to them, and we run away.  As we grow, some of us learn to obey a little more often, at least in our actions that others can see. However, at the core of who we are we rebel against the authorities in our lives: God, parents, teachers, bosses, husbands, ….and we use obedience as a four letter word.

This week God has continually reminded me that partial obedience isn’t really obedience at all.  If my children only clean their rooms partially, I go crazy and start ranting about how disobedient they have been.  However in their minds, they have cleaned their rooms: the clothes were in the drawers (Who cares that the drawers weren’t able to close?); the laundry was in the basket (In fact all the clothes that were on the floor, both clean and dirty, went into the basket.);  and all of their stuff was on their desk (Even though it is piled so high, the desk can’t even be used for its purpose.).  When I see this type of behavior in my children, I cringe because I know they rushed through the motions and were seeking to obey only enough to get me off their back.  Their hearts were far from being obedient in heart, mind, and spirit and in turn it hurts me as their parent.

Well, how does this relate to you and me?  Bottom line: Humans are selfish and at our core we choose to be disobedient and it hurts those around us. We choose to obey God, our bosses, and our spouses only enough to get them off our backs.  We say on the outside that we are obedient, and we even trick ourselves into believing that we are at times. Although the majority of the time, we are shoving things into the closet, hiding them under the bed, and piling them on our desk.  When in reality, God doesn’t want us to be faking it and partially obeying what He asked us to do.  He wants us to be 100% obedient to Him moment by moment.  He wants us to depend on Him for our strength.  He wants us to be praying continually, and obeying immediately.  He doesn’t ask for this because He is controlling and wants His own way, instead it is because He loves us and knows His way is best.  So remember, when you want to only partially obey what your boss, your spouse, and even God says, this is still anact of disobedience.

God over the years has asked me to do some crazy things like: write short stories for publishing, even though my brother is the writer; speak about His healing power, even though I have not seen anyone completely healed; and be obedient in the little choices of food consumption and daily devotions, even though I constantly fail to do this.  This week God pointed out to me why I feel like a failure. The truth is I have only been partially obedient.  I have obeyed enough to start to see the fruits of these tasks, only to stop partially through the process and fall back into bad habits.  Then the cycle begins: I feel like a failure and a crazy person; I get depressed; I give up and I run away; God reminds me of the tasks; and the process begins again.

So where do I go from here.

I pick where I left off. I seek moment by moment to be obedient even when I don’t want to, and I stop using the word obedience as a four letter word.


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