Human Effort

Everything Depends on God's Mercy

Selfishness or Obedience

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Obeying the rules and submitting to the authority of others is very difficult. Many times we do not like the people who have authority and even worse we may not respect them as individuals. For children and teens this is even more difficult because they lack the life experience to understand why the rules are in place. As parents disciplining them to obey is a painful process that can easily make the parent out to be the “bad guy” in the situation. As a parent there have been times when my wife and I had to correct and address bad behavior from one of the children at bed time. There are tears and yelling, but they went to bed. As parents we feel bad because the guilt sets in that the child did not go to sleep happy and filled with love. This guilt and perspective is wrong. That child was loved so much that we were willing to correct them in spite of the pain for both of us. I have found that the next morning the painful part of tears and prideful resistance of the correction is forgotten and there is peace and a renewed embrace and understanding of right and wrong.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11 ESV

I have found that God deals with me in much the same way. My heart is rebellious and there are always lusts of the flesh that capture my interests. These lusts for food and pleasure in my heart are part of prideful selfishness to obtain anything I want with no concern for the impact to others. A child that is screaming “me, me, me” cares only for his own needs. A child that grows up to be an adult that has never been disciplined against the selfish desires will be an adult that has no problem cheating and stealing to get what they want out of life.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

God’s word is vocal on how we are to correct our children and how we are to accept correction from the authorities over us. Everyone has authority that they submit willingly or unwillingly. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians quotes from the Ten Commandments and highlights an interesting fact about the command to honor your parents.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3 ESV

Paul calls out the link between obedient children and a society that is well organized and long lasting. Paul in another letter lumps disobeying parents in with the worst of the worst things people do.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:29-32 ESV

A child trained to obey earthly parents is an adult that will obey a heavenly father. Jesus is calling us to follow him and the authority he has from the Father. Jesus is calling you…

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV

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