I have found out that there are 2 ways my children obey.
- They obey because I told them to.
- They obey because they know it is the right thing to do.
Why don't we always obey the traffic laws? Does it matter that there are some speed limits that seem way too slow? it doesn't matter what you think. The law is there for you to respect & obey for your safety & the safety of those driving around you. We know we should obey the laws because it is the right thing to do.
My kids will do what I tell them to, but give me attitude while they do it. Yes, I'm glad they did what I told them to, but their heart has a problem that needs to be addressed. So actually, my childs' obediance was still sin. Just like obeying the traffic laws only when the police are looking. It's not truly obediance, we just don't want a ticket.
When my child obeys with a good attitude, that is complete obediance; honorable obediance. Honor means to value someone more than you value yourself. Honorable obediance says, "I will do what you ask, because I love & respect you, and I know it is the right thing to do." This is how we should always obey what the Lord tells us to do.
This reminds me of Abraham when God gave him the crazy orders to pack up he & Isaac & head to the mountain for sacrifice because Isaac was the sacrifice. (Genesis 22) Abraham didn't argue with God, he just obeyed. He honored God in his actions when he obeyed without question. If you know the story, you know that God didn't make Abraham sacrifice Isaac, he provided a ram. Abraham was blessed for his honorable obediance.
So, how do we instill this in our children?
First we must be living it out first. They learn from our example, whether we like it or not! If they don't see us living in a honorable way, they probably won't understand why you think they should.
Teach your kids there are blessings with obediance. Use the Bible to show them times when God's people were blessed because they obeyed and show them times when people didn't obey and what happened.
Some examples of stories of obediance are: Daniel 3 (Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego), Genesis 6 (Noah), Daniel 1 (Daniel & his friends)
"Fred, I asked you to unload the dishwasher and you rolled your eyes at me. Is that an appropriate response?" Then repeat the instruction. My kids are to say, "Yes mam" when I tell them to do something, we call that an appropriate response as long as they aren't rolling their eyes when they say it. :) When your child does respond in an honorable way, shower them with praise! But when they dobn't, take time to correct & remind them of the correct way to obey.
"Thank you so much for responding to me like that!"
It is really important that our children learn to obey with honor. It is a matter of the heart.
Our actions mean nothing to God, it is our heart that he wants.