Backward Obedience

biblical encouragement

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

Many times this verse is read and understood in reverse.  We are so conditioned in this world to think that we must do in order to get. So, we read this verse like this:

If you keep my commandments, then I will know that you love Me.

In reality, we cannot possibly do enough of anything to give anything to God.  That was the whole point of Him sending His precious Son to the earth to die for our sins.  If we could do (in this case, work) in order to get (in this case, salvation), then Christ’s death was in vain and we have no need for a Savior.  Of course, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we desperately know we need Him to be our Savior!  Therefore, it is our complete reliance on our Savior, and our humble acceptance of Jesus that prompts us to respond in joyful gratitude and good works for the redemption, forgiveness, and salvation that is freely given to us through Christ’s work on the cross.

So, while it is important to teach our children obedience to the Lord and to daddy and mommy, it is imperative that we are not confused.  We do not want to inadvertently mislead our children into the misconception that their relationship with Christ can be earned through works.  When we are training the hearts of our children to be obedient to Jesus, we must be very careful not to imply or send the message to our children that their obedience or good works is what they do to prove to themselves and those around them that they love Jesus.  Amazingly, this could promote pride...the very sin that could harden their hearts and keep them from a relationship with God.  Instead, we must help them understand that when they do something good or make an obedient choice, it came as a result of the fruit of the love of Christ in them, as we are not able to do good in and of ourselves.  We want them to be God-reliant, not self-reliant.

Phil 2:13  For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

This gives us cause to rejoice with our children when they do good, thanking God for His perfect grace and love in us.  His goodness in us becomes our blessing both for ourselves and for those around us.  When we see our children obey and do good, let’s help them to give glory to God!  Let’s be happy for them as they learn that goodness is a reflection of the love of Christ.  Sometimes….once in a while….it is even fun to celebrate obedience and goodness with an ice cream.  Cherish the simple times and moments of celebrating God’s love with your children and watch how they fall in love with Jesus!

John 14:12  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do.