I was visiting with my coworker (Bill Housley) the other day and he was sharing something the Lord continues to challenge him with. He said, “love and obedience are 2 sides to the same coin.” Because God loves us, it should produce in us a desire to obey. Our obedience shows that we love God. You can’t have one without the other. Obedience without love is bondage and slavery, and love without obedience is not a relationship. Bill shared that we find the best example of this in parenting.
In Hebrews 4 we have an interesting paradox that I believe relates to this idea. We are told to work hard, so we can enter God’s rest. We have to work to rest. What is he talking about?
Israel failed to enter God’s rest. So, what happened? How did they fail? Heb 4:3 says, “they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.” And in Heb 4:6 it says, “ those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God.“
In a healthy parent child relationship, the child obeys because he knows and believes that what mom and dad say is for their good. They listen to their parents, and obey, in faith, believing what their parents are telling them is for their good. But, that doesn’t come naturally. The parent needs to work at showing love, training and disciplining the child to help them learn that there is a rest available. The will find rest when they stay inside the circle of safety where love and obedience work together. Inside the circle, they will not have to worry about getting into trouble, they won’t have to be worry about getting hurt or something bad happening, they will be at rest, knowing mom and dad are looking out for them. But, it takes training and discipline to help the child understand that it’s much better for them to stay inside the circle. That’s the work. The work for the parent is loving, training and discipline. The work for the child, is learning to trust, and giving up their own selfish desires.
In Heb 5:7-8 it tells us that God even put his own son through this process. “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with loud cry and tears to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers… Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Isn’t it interesting that it says, God heard his prayers, BUT Jesus still went through the suffering. God didn’t even exempt His own son from this process.
Heb 4:10 says, “all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors.” Heb 4:11-12 But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall. For the word of God is alive and powerful… It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
May we listen to His Word (our parental instruction), deal with our own selfishness (thought thoughts and desires God’s Word exposes), and learn to rest inside God’s loving hands (the circle of safety)
- That you will work to rest, working to understand God’s love (Eph 3:17-18) so you can trust him.
- That you will find the rest God has promised in His loving arms.
- Be a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only (James 1:22)
- Learn to parent like God does. Loving with an unconditional love. But, also training and discipline so love and obedience can work together in your home.