When my children were younger and living at home, one of the things that drove me to distraction was when I asked them to clean their rooms. I would send them to their rooms and tell them to clean them. But, their idea of clean and my idea of clean were two different things. I was expecting them to fully clean, but instead, they shoved their clothes under their beds, their toys, and trash into the closet. On the outside it looked clean. If I walked in and stood in the middle of their rooms, it was clean. But, I knew them all too well. I knew that I would have to look under the bed, and open the closet doors for a thorough inspection, and I would find that they had disobeyed my orders.
As I thought back to this time, I realized that I too sometimes do exactly what they did. The Lord tells me to do something. He gives me specific instructions through His word to do something, to go a certain way- to clean the rooms of my heart. And I do, sort of. I make it look clean on the outside, but on the inside I am in disobedience. Just like my children, the Lord has to come into the room of my heart and open the closet door and look under my bed. When He does, He shows me that I was not in obedience to His word.
My word for this year has been obedience. Obedience is not something that comes to us naturally, because we are sinners, we were born into disobedience. Obedience is something we have to learn, through experience, through discipline and through the correction of the Holy Spirit. For instance, when I first became a Christian, I cursed like a sailor. Every other word that came out of my mouth was a curse word. It was not until the Lord disciplined me and showed me through His word how these things ought not to be so in my life. He chastened me, and I listened. I obeyed His command and I stopped cursing like a sailor. This was one of my first lessons in obedience, and I am still learning.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked of Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5-6
Lately, the Lord has been dealing with me in regards to some areas of my life that I am choosing to ignore. For us Christians, disobedience is choosing to ignore something rather than go through the process and deal with it. Disobedience is an unwillingness to submit to His sovereign will over our lives. Anytime the Lord tells me to do something, and I choose to not hear Him, I have chosen to walk in disobedience rather than obedience. Disobedience also speaks to the attitude we have towards listening to our heavenly Father. My children heard me tell them to clean their rooms, but they chose not to listen to what I specifically asked of them.
Many of us can relate to this attitude of disobedience, and some are probably not as willing torelate, it all depends on the attitude of the person. We know the Lord says to forgive, and we do- on the outside. We go to the person that has hurt us and we tell them we forgive them. But we keep a record of that hurt in our hearts, we hide the hurt under our beds, and make it look clean on the outside. But inside we are still hurt, bitter and not willing to let it go, not willing to give it to Him. We speak to them as if nothing is wrong the next time we see them, but deep down, we are still hiding that hurt under our beds. We have forgiven half-way, we have sort of cleaned our room, but it’s still there, under the bed.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that we should not despise the chastening of the Lord. All of us are walking in disobedience in some area of our lives. If we say we are not, then we are lying not only to our God, but to ourselves. I know the areas of my disobedience. He brings them to my attention every time I do them. He shows me that this is not what He asked me to do, yet I still choose to walk that way. I know that I must let these things go, and choose to listen to Him and His directions, but my attitude is the opposite. My attitude is “Yes Lord, I will go and clean my room,” and I go and shove it into my closet. It looks good on the outside, but if He opens the door all the trash of my disobedience is going to fall out!
Let it not be said of us today that we, His children, the ones whom He chastens because He loves us, choose to walk in disobedience. Let it not be said of us that we despise His chastening. Let us instead listen with our whole hearts what He is telling us to do, and let us walk in the way of obedience from this day forward. I know the things I must do, and He has shown me how to do them. What I choose to do with these directions will determine if I move ahead in my walk with Him, or if I stay hiding under my bed. I must choose obedience. I must learn to allow Him to chasten me, to direct me, and through His chastening I will learn how to be obedient to His will over my life. Obedience hurts; there is no doubt about that. But I would much rather walk in obedience than choose to disobey my God. Amen saints?
To Jesus Christ, the only One who is truly and completely obedient -be all the glory, power and honor forever and ever. Amen.