Growing up I always had a desire to obey my parents. While I was never a perfect kid, I always (at least at a foundational level) wanted to do what my parent’s wanted me to do.
Why is that?
Well (best I can figure), for two reasons.
- I wanted to obey my parents because I respected them. In our home, they set the rules, and so I wanted to live in light of them. I do not remember a lot of “being grounded” or other forms of punishment, but I do remember that the expectations for behavior were clear, and when I crossed those lines I could see (and often would hear about) their displeasure. This was a big motivator for me. I knew my parents observed my life and that I was accountable to them for my behavior. This caused me to “just say no” to some temptations that came my way, to come home (mostly) on time when curfew was set, and to speak with kindness and respect to my parents (and other adults in my life). Because of the respect I had for them, I wanted to please them.
- I wanted to obey my parents because I loved them. My parents loved ME … and I always knew it. I grew up in a home where my needs were provided for (emotionally, physically, spiritually). There was warmth, friendship, and care that permeated our household. Because of this love, I was motivated to behave in a way that demonstrated my love that I had for them. The love in our home was (and is) reciprocal, and translated into a demonstrable pattern of behavior.
Now, when I say this, I know what some of you may be thinking – “Wow Mark, when it comes to parents you really ‘won the lottery.’ I wish I was that lucky!” If this is your reaction, I would simply say – Yes. I won the lottery when it comes to parents. Through no good work I had done, by God’s grace, I was born into a family that had parents who were both respectable and loving. I know that many of you reading this did not grow up with that blessing and had to persevere through absent or abusive parents, or saw a parent pass away while you were at an early age. I do not know why (exactly) God allows these things. Others reading this, though, also had parents like mine, and you have feelings of thankfulness welling up reading these thoughts today.
But here is something amazing …
Regardless of your earthly situation or past experience, I want to remind you of something important: if you have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (or if you trust in Christ today and begin to follow Him), you and I SHARE THE SAME FATHER – Our Father who art in heaven – hallowed be His name!
And, our Heavenly Father is both respectable AND loves us.
In 2 Corinthians 5:11-15, the Apostle Paul provides two reasons why He “makes it his aim to please God” — the respect/fear He has for God, and the love God has for him that has captivated his life. This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be looking at these verses together in part 3 of our “Mission: Endure” sermon series as we find the true motivations and responses of those who are “in Christ.” Can’t wait to look at these verses together. We will do so this Sunday in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services. Hope you can make it … and bring friends!