As I get older, I feel more and more blessed to have amazing parents. We always hear new parents refer to their baby as the greatest gift from above. I like to look at it the other way around. Probably because – I have no children. But that’s besides the point! My parents are the [second] greatest gift the Lord has graciously given me (the first being the free gift of eternal life)! So, I want to give a shout-out to all the parents out there who, so lovingly, raised their kids to follow the Lord and trained them in His way.
Growing up in the church, there were two ABC Bible verses I memorized. The first for C and the other for H –
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
And a Sunday school song, I love, with the following lyrics –
Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe.
Doing exactly what the Lord commands,
Doing it happily.
Action is the key – do it immediately,
Joy you will receive.
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
Human nature usually pushes us to do the opposite of what someone in authority or superior to us is telling or asking us to do. It’s just how we were built. It’s part of our sinful nature. Especially as young children and then growing into adolescence, we like to test every limit. Sometimes one may wonder, “Why don’t my parents understand? Why won’t they let me do this or go there? Why can’t they just let me do what I want?” Hmmmm…those questions sound familiar. Not only do we entertain these thoughts towards our parents, but we direct them to God, our Heavenly Father (even if we don’t want to admit it, we do). There is an absolute parallel between the relationship we have with our parents and the relationship we have with Christ.
The Lord calls us to obey Him. But, why should we? Because He gave His life for us. He bought us at a price. It’s simple. We are no longer in control, He is. And if we trust that the Word is the Living Word of God, we are to obey it and become more Christ-like. But it all starts somewhere. If we are obeying the Lord’s commands, we are surely able to obey and honor our parents. Like Scripture says, it is what’s right.
Sometimes honoring our parents requires us to let go of what we think is best or what we really want, in order to please them. Same with Jesus – we have to trust that He knows best, and let go of our plans. He has promised us SO much. Let’s trust that He will follow through – He always has, and He always will.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Our parents give us explicit expectations; it is our choice to follow and obey them, otherwise there will be a punishment for our actions. Same with Jesus – He gives us a guideline to live by (The Holy Bible), it is up to us to intentionally obey His Word. Following the Word is vital to our existence as disciples of Christ. It is the source that will get us through the highs, lows and confusing times. It gives us Hope. However, the Lord expects us our obedience, but without it we will have to face the consequences.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
Our parents have provided for us and have loved us the best way they know how. Same with Jesus – He has never, ever let us go a day without His abundant provisions and mercies; He loves us unconditionally. We have to focus on why we are here – to give Him all of the glory He so rightly deserves.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And if you’re thinking, “Well, I can think of times my parents have messed up. Times when they did the wrong thing or treated me in a way they shouldn’t have.” I urge you to show them grace. The Lord has blessed us with people who love and care for us, but they make mistakes, too. And it is true, we didn’t get to choose our family. But as a believer, I am certain that Jesus Christ lives in me, which means I am totally, 100% capable of loving my parents, even when they may fail. Remember, they are just like us – human.
So now that I’m a little older, my parents don’t bug me as much. Not because they’ve changed or that they’ve adapted to what makes me happy, but because the Lord is molding my heart into one that obeys without asking, “why?” All praise be to Him who is continually teaching me that each day is a gift and all that I have is a blessing from Him. I thank Him for my parents – the two people who have stayed consistent, never stopped loving me, and have hearts for Him. And I thank my parents for comforting me, disciplining me, being a great example for me and loving me like Christ does.
And for those of you whose parents weren’t an instrumental part of your upbringing and growth as believers, the Lord is your Father. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is teaching you and will fill any void you may have. And one day, in His time, maybe you will become a parent to a precious child who will need your love. What a great joy and responsibility that will be! Allow Him to prepare you for what He has in store for your future.
May we always have a heart of praise. One that is thankful for the innumerable blessings we are showered with, knowing that each blessing is from above. And a heart that is always willing to obey Him because we love Him. Let’s always turn our eyes on Jesus Christ who willingly, with meekness, obeyed His Father by dying for us. He displayed the ultimate act of love. Let’s always keep in mind that our obedience shows humility. Obedience is the very best way to show that we believe.
Trust and obey.