“I need you to clean your room, please.” Simple enough, right? Well, not so much with a teenager.
I asked my daughter to clean her room a while ago, but instead she decided to walk the dog, make cookies, and empty the dishwasher. That’s awesome, but the room was still a mess. So when I decided to confront her about her messy room, I had her pointing out all the things she had done as a defense as to why her room was not clean. I also got the old, “You don’t appreciate me! Here, I’ve done all of these things and you didn’t even care—you just want me to clean my room!”
Oh, no she didn’t! Please tell me she didn’t go there.
I swallowed hard and as lovingly as I could muster, I replied, “Well, I didn’t ask you to do all of those things! And even though they are wonderful and I do appreciate what you did, you still disobeyed me by not doing what I actually asked you to do!”
As soon as it came out of my mouth, my heart sank as I realized immediately that God could say the same exact thing to me at times. He asks me to do something that may be out of my comfort zone. Instead, I lead a Bible study, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or do some other work to try to please Him (usually something He hasn’t asked me to do). But I neglect the one thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt He is asking me to do. The one thing that requires a great deal of discipline. The one thing that scares the dickens out of me!
Then, in my prayer time, I feel His Spirit gently ask me why I neglected to obey Him and I find myself doing exactly what my daughter did . . . I make excuses. “But God! Didn’t you notice when I lead that Bible Study? What about the soup kitchen – did that mean nothing to you? Aren’t you impressed with me, God? Don’t you appreciate me?!” I then hear Him whisper, “I desire obedience over sacrifice, my child.”
How do I know He whispered this? Because it’s in His Word. 1 Samuel 15:22 says, “But Samuel replied, ‘what is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”
Works are not what He wants from me.
And as long as I’m continuing to disobey Him in an area of my life, I’m living in disobedience—no matter how many other “good” things I pile up. I’m not sure I ever truly understood that until this situation with my daughter happened.Sometimes I think God gave me children so I could get a glimpse of how incredibly hypocritical I can be in life! As I am disciplining my children, He is showing me a picture of myself more often than not.
Is there an area of your life where God has asked you to obey Him, but instead you’re working your tail off trying to impress Him in other ways, hoping He will forget all about the “other thing” He asked you to do? Hey, I get it—we all do it (whether we admit it or not)—but I would venture to say that we will be stuck in a spiritual rut until we obey Him in the one way we never thought we could.
It’s time. No more excuses! God wants to bless you! But He will hold back His full blessing until the obedience comes. Blessing always follows obedience. He will give you strength and power to do what He is calling you to do. Don’t waste another moment living in disobedience. The thrill you will feel once you decide to obey is so worth the effort!
John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” —Jesus