I read this quote the other day in regards to training our children to obey our voice:
"As we teach our children to obey our voice, we're also teaching them to obey God's voice. Someday, they will learn to hear His small, still voice in their hearts and they will know to obey Him because it is the right thing to do."
Isn't that what I want for them? The ability to RECOGNIZE and OBEY the Creator's voice? And it all starts here at home.....*sigh*. Somedays I feel pretty ill-equipped to teach my children much of anything, particularly when it comes to weighty things like recognizing the voice of God. In the midst of temper-tantrums, sibling squabbles and blatant defiance, it is hard to remember that the real reason I am here is not to play referee, but to point them to Him. In. Every. Thing.
In the temper-tantrums. In the sibling squabbles. In the mundaneness (is that even a word?!!!?) that is life. If I am only breaking up fights and changing the OUTWARD behaviors of my children instead of their hearts, aren't I doing them a disservice?
Take the city of Sodom, for instance. I have loved this verse ever since I came across it.
"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
What?!??? Sodom was not destroyed for its sexual sins and wickedness??? Apparently, those were merely the OUTWARD manefestations of the INWARD heart.
So as I've pondered and revisited issues of obedience with my own children lately, it causes me to re-evaluate where I stand with God. Do I recognize that still, small voice that resides in my heart? Do I practice first-time obedience myself? Do I simply exhibit OUTWARD behaviors, while ignoring the heart?
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the OUTWARD appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
~ 1 Samuel 16:7
If I am completely honest with myself, I could stand to listen more closely to His voice. There are certainly things He has placed on my heart with His still, small voice that I have yet to do. Things that are hard. Things that I am resistant to. And what do I do? I dig in my heels like a toddler. I throw that temper tantrum. I practice blatant defiance. Because it is easier than giving up control and surrendering completely.
JUST. LIKE. MY. KIDS.
Man I love those crazy kids! They teach me so much about myself and life. So despite how difficult it may be, I'm gonna take another look at obedience. I'm GOING to commit myself to heart-changing. Because it's too important not to. Because I want to give my kids the best shot at growing into mature adults who both RECOGNIZE and OBEY the Creator's voice. Because God is laying it on my heart in His still, small voice and it is the right thing to do. Because I want to be obedient to the task that God has laid before me. I want to be obedient to Him.