Teaching our kids to FULLY OBEY wore me out as a young mother!! For example, I would tell them to make up their bed, clean up their room, and bring down their dirty clothes. Invariably I would walk upstairs after they had gone to school and find the bed was made but there were dirty clothes on the floor in the corner of the room. The room would be neat but yet those dirty clothes were not brought downstairs! I was pleased to see they had done most of what I had asked but not ALL!! I would address it when they got home from school. I never looked forward to doing that because I knew they had given an effort. And they had been at school all day but nevertheless, I made myself!! I had to disregard, and kick to the curb, how they would respond and teach, discipline and train anyway!! I had to look at the bigger picture!!! Down the road.
The parenting course we took, and later led a group through the same course, stressed not just FIRST-TIME OBEDIENCE, but COMPLETE OBEDIENCE. This may sound legalistic, and in parenting there is always room for grace and context of any given situation, but now that I am on the Back 9 of life, more than ever I want to stress to anyone that First-time obedience is very important and so is COMPLETE OBEDIENCE.
Let’s fast forward to the ages of my kids right now, 20, 21, and 24. Brewer has been in the working world for 2 years. If you asked him about working in Washington, D.C. for National Media Group, he would tell you that if you were given an assignment at work, you had BETTER DO IT COMPLETELY and not half-way. Yes, in a job you get reviewed once a year, sometimes twice a year or more. They keep up with your performance and when the time comes for that review, you WANT A GOOD REPORT!!!! They don’t want, nor will they keep, someone who does not FULLY COMPLETE THE JOB GIVEN.
Second, if you ask Thomas or Collins about assignments at Clemson or the University of Georgia by any given professor, they would tell you how strict college professors are in FOLLOWING COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER! Teaching your kids and holding them to a standard of first-time and complete obedience serves them really well as they mature and is VERY MUCH NEEDED TO BE RESPONSIBLE ADULTS. Don’t wait until they are old. Teach them when they are young a discipline that is hard but REWARDING FOR A LIFETIME.
I love the Bible. God is very clear about FULL AND COMPLETE OBEDIENCE!!! I think of Jonah, and God instructing him to go to Nineveh and he ran…………. What happened to Jonah????? He ended up in the belly of the whale. For Jonah, that was complete disobedience.
Now, let’s look at partial obedience in the life of Saul. In 1 Samuel 15, God had chosen Saul to be King. God tells Saul, through the prophet Samuel, to attack Israel’s enemies the Amalekites. God’s instructions were very specific and clear. He told Saul to completely destroy everything, even ALL THE HERDS AND FLOCKS. So Saul attacked and destroyed but could not bring himself to destroy some of the better animals of the flocks and he took some for himself! (Partial obedience!!) Saul injected himself and his thoughts into God’s instructions. God was grieved over Saul’s lack of obedience. When Samuel confronted Saul, he lied!! Then Samuel asked, “What is the bleating I hear?” Saul proceeded to cover up by making an excuse that he had spared the animals for sacrifice. Samuel said, “Stop!!” He didn’t want to hear the excuses!!! Then Samuel said, “Let me tell you what the Lord has said, ‘To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of the rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king!'” Saul lost the appointment as King. He simply thought he could partially obey and ignore God’s complete instructions. He obeyed what he wished and used his own logic. He tried to make it okay by sacrificing some of the plunder to make up for not following completely!
The lesson here is that God wants us to FULLY OBEY HIM, not partially. HE REJECTS PARTIAL OBEDIENCE. For me on the Back 9, having lived life and reaped the consequences of partial obedience, I can tell you that in order to PLEASE GOD it takes FULL OBEDIENCE. I have learned the hard way after walking away wondering, “What happened?” or “Why didn’t things turn out the way I had hoped OR thought God would have had it go?” I knew He had prompted me to do the thing, BUT….I GOT IN THE WAY. I interjected “Sherry” and what made sense to me……WRONG…….
IF WE want to reap the blessings of God, it requires FULL AND COMPLETE OBEDIENCE, NOT A HEAD FAKE OF PARTIAL Obedience. He wants us to “DROP OUR HANDS” AND honor HIM with our fully letting Go and obeying, not leaning on our own understanding. God knows BEST!!!