Not too long ago we had finished dinner and I went to the other room for a few minutes before starting to clean up. I could hear my kids whispering and scurrying. When I returned, the table had been completely cleared! I was thrilled, and my little ones were beaming. They had not done something they had been told, or even asked, to do; rather, they had thought of something that would make me happy, and they worked hard to make it happen. It did make me happy, and it brought them much joy as well! My happiness was not so much about the work they had saved me, as it was that they had a desire to please me, and had been willing to do what was necessary to bring me pleasure.
I pray for this type of maturity and love to continue to grow in my children, and in our relationship. It is my job as their parent to teach them what is right, and to require obedience. It is their duty as children (according to the Bible) to obey and to honor me as their mother. However, there is a much greater and sweeter joy that we can achieve in our relationship if they learn to do what is right, not because they want to avoid correction, or because they want to receive some type of commendation, but because they love me, and want to please me. Even more, I hope they will do right because they want to please the Lord.
As the children of God, this is the type of attitude and relationship our heavenly Father desires us to have. He commands us to obey. He teaches us that there are blessings for obedience. He reminds us there are consequences for disobedience. However, He longs for the fellowship and joy that comes when we are not simply conforming to rules or seeking some external blessing, but rather seeking to know and do His will for His pleasure. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;” (Eph. 5:1)
Jesus is our great example in this regard, as in every other. He said, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (Jn. 8:29) Over and over He stated that He did not come to do His own will, but the will of His Father. He delighted in doing the will of His Father.
Do we seek to do those things that we know would please our Father? Do we long to know Him better so that we can please Him, and not do anything that might displease or disappoint Him? Do we look for ways to honor Him? Do we “seek for all the commandments of the Lord…” (I Chr. 28:8)? Do we avoid things that might hurt Him, or bring dishonor to His name, even if they aren’t things He has “expressly forbidden”?
A loving and obedient child desires to know how to please the Father, not only by avoiding things that would be wrong, but by seeking to know what things are good that bring the Father pleasure. A rebellious child does only what is strictly required, spelled out in detail, and necessary to avoid consequences.
Which type of children are we? Are we the child who examines every statement, every rule, looking for a loophole? Do we only do the bare minimum to avoid correction? Do we perhaps fulfill the “letter of the law”, but never have the spirit, or heart, of obedience? Or, are we the child who seeks to please because of love? Are we a child who goes beyond what is required or commanded, and seeks to fulfill the desires of the Father?
It should be the goal of every child of God to be able to say to our heavenly Father from our hearts, “I delight to do thy will, O my God…”
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. ” (Rom. 6:17)
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” (Eph. 6:6)