The best way you can teach your children to obey is to teach them about Christ’s obedience. Today AMBrewster provides a final framework for Christian parents to teach their kids about true obedience.
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Welcome back to the “Teach Your Children to Obey” series.
In part one we talked about the types of things you should ask your children to do and why. In part two we learned that how they do what you ask them to do is just as important as what they do. Part three was all about how you can teach your children that why they do what they do is even more important than what they do. And last time we found hope that though true obedience is an impossibility for us and our children, God has provided a way.
If you didn’t listen to those episodes, I encourage you to do so. Truth.Love.Parent. wants to not only give you information, but teach you to parent your children with that information. To that end, we’re constantly trying to provide practical examples and real life application of God’s Truth to your parenting.
And today is no different.
Today’s show is called “Obeying Like Jesus.” Now, I think we all need to be reminded of how and why Jesus obeyed, but my assumption is that I’m not going to tell you anything today that you haven’t heard at one point in your life.
However, your children may not have heard it. And though you may have shared elements of this with them, my hope today is that you will walk away with a cohesive illustration with which you can parent your children.
Again, TLP exists to provide you a veritable “parenting curriculum.” Anything we can do to help you be successful in your divine calling to your family is a blessing to us.
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So, thank you to those who have already reviewed us and to those who will review us in the future.
Alright, let’s talk about our amazing Savior and His unfathomable obedience.
There were many reasons Jesus obeyed perfectly. First, He’s God. Second His substitutionary atonement wouldn’t have worked if he had sinned. But — third — I also believe His obedience is an example to us of how we should obey.
Luke 2:22-52 tells us that Jesus spent about 30 years quietly and submissively obeying not only His heavenly Father, but also the human authority in His life.
That’s a massive reality I use quite frequently in my ministry.
We all feel like we’re justified not obeying our authority. Sometimes we think they don’t know about what they’re talking. Sometimes we think they don’t deserve our obedience because of how they acted. Sometimes we just think they’re dead wrong.
But the reality is that Jesus obeyed every human authority He had. It didn’t matter if they communicated incorrectly, it didn’t matter if He had a better idea, it didn’t matter if He liked them or not . . . or if His authority liked Him . . . Jesus obeyed.
And, as we saw a couple episodes ago, He obeyed because His purpose on this planet was not His own.
Now, again, I feel the need to at least observe that the Truth of the Trinity is beyond us. It’s incomprehensible that three persons can exist in a single entity, but it’s also unfathomable that those three persons function in a hierarchy in their unity.
And I’m not here to try to explain that, and I don’t think you have to explain it to your kids. Teach them the reality, but don’t try to explain it in a way that they “get it.” They won’t get it. You and I don’t get it.
But it is super important to acknowledge that the God of the universe submitted — again — not only did He submit to the Heavenly Father, He submitted to His human authorities.
And our children need to understand why:
Now, sometimes I read a passage and comment on it as we go, but today I’m going to share the principles God wants us to teach our children about Jesus’ obedience, and I’ll illustrate them with verses as we go.
There’s so much material about Christ’s obedience; I want to systematize it a bit. So, we’re going to look at 10 Principles of Obedience from the life of Christ.
Here’s principle number one . . .
1. Jesus understood the importance of submission and authority.
In John 13:12-17 we read, “12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?”
For those of you who may not be familiar with this passage, the God of the universe has just removed his garments and washed twelve pairs of feet. One of those pairs was preparing to betray its Creator later that evening.
So, Jesus gave the disciples this powerful example, and He asked them if they understood the lesson.
And He continues: “13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Here Jesus teaches us one of the fundamental realities of the universe . . . everything has a hierarchy.
Presumably, the Trinity didn’t need to function this way. I suppose it’s right to say that because that’s how God chose to do it . . . it obviously needed to happen that way. But let’s not fry our minds on that discussion just yet.
The point is God wasn’t going to disagree with Himself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had perfect unity, and yet there was no socialistic, communal, plurality of leadership.
And it’s this reality that our sin natures try to undo at every turn.
Think back to The Fall. As a result of her sin, in Genesis 3:16, God tells Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” The phrase “your desire shall be for your husband” is not referring to some romantic desire. No, no, no.
God told Eve that her desire was going to be for her husband’s authority in the home. You see, every human relationship his designed to function just like the Trinity . . . hierarchy in unity. Though the husband and wife are one flesh, the husband is still responsible to rule the home well and will be held accountable — in part — for the family’s sanctification — especially his wife’s.
This is why God included “and he shall rule over you;” so Eve would understand that her new knowledge of good and evil would include both the good knowledge of her husband’s authority, but also the evil knowledge of the fact that she can manipulate and terrorize her husband into submission.
Here’s the application for your children.
But — don’t forget — the power of the second reality lies in the first. Don’t make it about your authority, make it about God’s.
So, again, our first lesson on obedience from Jesus is that hierarchy is a divine, universal reality that cannot and should not be escaped. Even Jesus submitted to His authority.
And that leads us to the second lesson: because He understood His place in the hierarchy . . .
2. Jesus couldn’t act of His own power, and He didn’t exercise His own authority.
Let’s consider John 5:19 and 8:28. In 5:19, Jesus said, “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” And in John 8:28 we read, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.”
Isn’t that amazing? Jesus knew that He could do nothing of Himself. All of His marching orders came directly from His Father. And again, in John 8, He said, “I do nothing on my own authority.”
That’s such an important understanding for our obedience because it acknowledges the reality that we don’t really have any authority.
I Corinthians 4:7 uses this same type of principle to teach us not to boast. Paul says, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
He makes the observation that boasting is truly impossible when we and everyone else realize the reality that we don’t have anything that wasn’t given to us by God. There’s nothing about which any man can boast.
At that point, boasting becomes impossible.
The same is true here: if we and everyone else simply acknowledged that we don’t have any authority, then it would be impossible for us to try to exert it.
I’m not trying to say that we won’t be able to boast, everyone will simply understand the foolishness of it all. This is where Satan’s original problem started.
In Isaiah 14:12-14 we read, “12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”
This passage reveals to us the moment in time when sin first entered creation. Lucifer allowed himself to think that He could usurp God’s authority because he had the power to make himself like the Most High.
And what’s really sad is that the title Satan uses for God speaks to the fact that no one can be higher than He! Satan claimed he would rise higher than the MOST HIGH! There’s nothing and no one higher than the MOST High.
Whereas Satan tried to exercise authority he didn’t have, Jesus knew it would be impossible to exercise authority He didn’t have.
Here’s the application for your kids:
1. As they learn that they were created to submit to God, they need to realize that they have absolutely no authority to contradict Him. Every time we sin and disobey God’s Law, we’re delusional enough to think we actually have the power to do so.
It’s just like gravity. Very few people actually try unaided flight because they know they’re incapable of flight. The reality dispels the temptation.
The same is true here. If your children grasp the reality that they don’t actually have authority, they’ll understand the futility of trying to exercise it.
And that makes this second observation super important. 2. Just like your children need to submit to God, they need to submit to you. They have no authority over you.
In episode 42 we discussed the single most destructive influence in the life of your child. That most hazardous of materials is you, the parent.
If we allow our children to say, “No,” tell us what to do, or refuse to do what we’ve instructed, we’re lying to them about one of the fundamental realities of life. We’re actually giving them the false impression that they have the authority to defy us.
Now, again, our leadership is actually submission to Christ. In episode 7 we discuss the universal importance that we need to be First Followers of God — not leaders, First Followers. This is due to the fact that our leadership is granted to us in and through God. So, we have no place to be dictatorial and unkind.
But, that doesn’t change the fact that our children have zero authority over us. God has not given them authority over us.
We must stop allowing them to think they do lest we tempt them to the delusion that they too have authority over God.
The only authority we have comes from God. And that’s our third Principle of Obedience.
3. Jesus only exercised the authority His Father gave Him.
Jesus did say and do many things. He taught truth that contradicted the spiritual leaders of the day. He threw people out of the temple. And he also exercised authority over demons and sin and death. But He was the first to admit that all that authority had been granted to Him by the Father.
In John 10:17-18 we read, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.””
If you choose to allow your older children to exercise authority over your younger children, I cannot express how important this principle will be for your family.
When I teach the martial arts, from time to time I’ll give a lower belt charge over the class. This happens because I need to work with a student or split the class up. Anyway, I’ll confer my authority onto the lower belt, and in the moment two things are true. Number one, the class must obey that lower ranking student as if they’d obey me, and two the child I’ve just put in charge muse lead the class as I’d lead the class.
If any of the students disobey the lower rank, they’ll receive the same consequence as if they’d disobeyed me, and if the student in charge leads the class incorrectly, they’ll have consequences to.
We talked about this in a more practical way with Jessica Mair in episode 93 where we discussed how to tackle tattling in your home.
If we don’t teach our children how to correctly exercise our authority, we’re just as negligent as if we handed them a gun with no training or oversight.
We really shouldn’t leave the house saying, “Obey your big sister,” unless we’ve taught our expectations and inspected that it was being handled the right way. Otherwise, you’re setting your younger children up for bitterness and your older children for growing up to be bad parents.
They — like us — need to lead with a solid understanding that their authority has been granted to them from a higher power and they’re required to submit to the way that authority wants them to use their power.
Jesus did it. Our kids can do it too.
And as we learned in The Merest Christianity series, what we believe affects what we want. Therefore . . .
4. Jesus only wanted to do what pleased His Father.
John 8:29 says, “I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”
This principle is simple, but you need to teach it to your kids.
They have to understand that if they truly believe God’s Word, they will want to obey. We talked about this is great detail a few episodes ago when we discussed the motivation for obedience.
And so the next logical question is, what pleases the Father? Well, we talked about that in grand detail in the first episode of this series, and Jesus exemplifies it this way . . .
5. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He only said what He was taught to say by the Father.
In John 5:19 we read, “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”
In John 8:28 we hear Jesus say, “I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.”
Jesus did the right things, and He knew what those things were because He saw His Father do them.
This will have two significant implications for our families:
I can’t over-express the importance of this point. We must not be do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do parents. I suppose God will allow us to parent like that, but don’t be surprised when your children do what they see you do and say what they hear you say.
You example is far more powerful than your admonition.
Teach them God’s Truth and illustrate it in your living.
Alright, so by way of review,
6. Even when His Father’s will seemed hard, Jesus submitted.
Matthew 26:39 gives us an intimate look into a personal conversation between Jesus and the Father. Knowing the pain of the crucifixion and the agony of being temporarily separated from the Father, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Christ’s ability to do this is identical to our own. We will obey — our children will obey — if our authority is trustworthy.
Now, I should clarify, you may be trustworthy, and your children still disobey you. This is due to the fact that your child doesn’t believe you’re trustworthy in that situation. They don’t believe that staying pure, or having the right friends, or cleaning their room is really the best idea.
We do this with God as well. He’s perfectly trustworthy, but we doubt Him. James 1:6-8 teaches us, “6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
When we doubt, we’re not going to obey. We’re not going to be stable.
I believe we can help our children’s obedience when we do two things:
Now, proving that you’re trustworthy is a topic that needs at least one episode to unpack, so we can’t talk about it here.
But we must realize that we can set our kids up for success in obedience simply by proving to our children that we really do have their best interest in mind.
Jesus knew that His Father’s way was best. God could be trusted to only do what was in everyone’s best interest.
And one of the reasons that Jesus trusted the Father is our seventh principle.
7. Jesus was confident in the fact that His Father wouldn’t leave Him.
In John 8:29 we read, “And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”
Jesus knew that God the Father was with Him and would not leave Him. He would be there expecting obedience; He would be there giving Christ the authority to do what was asked of Him.
And for us — like we learned last time — God will be there to empower us to obey.
I Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
And Hebrews 13:5 comforts us with the promise that “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So, when it comes to teaching our children to obey, we need to teach them that God is there for His children, but we also need to be there to help our children be successful.
This will help us fulfill the responsibility we talked about in the last point. Your children will trust you more when they realize that you’re there for them through it all, and that you only have God’s best interest in mind for them.
Now, our eighth principle of divine obedience is quite startling.
We just read John 8:29: “And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”
Jesus said that the Father was with Him because Christ did what was pleasing to the Father.
Now listen to John 10:17, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.”
8. Jesus’ motivation for obedience was His Father’s love.
Now, I don’t know about you, but those phrases rocked me. “For this reason the Father loves me . . . .” “He has not left me alone for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”
I don’t want to open a gigantic can of worms, but we’ve seen on a number of occasions that many of God’s promises are conditional.
Is it possible that the love of the Father for the Son was contingent on the Son’s obedience?
Well, I’m not prepared to answer that dogmatically, but there is an important lesson to be learned for our families.
Born again believers have God’s promise of unmerited Agape love. Now, we’re not God the Father. Our children aren’t the Creator of the universe. We don’t exist in a trinity with them.
Our True Agape Love for our kids must not be conditional. If it’s conditional then it’s not the True Love we learned about in The Three Family Loves series, and we’re sinning against God and our children.
However, our children must know that obedience will be blessed.
Our kids need to know that we’ll always love them, but they also need to know that obedience brings a blessing.
I’m afraid that too often our children are disciplined for their sin, but they’re not really blessed for their obedience.
It’s kind of like a child who’s mastered their toilet training. Eventually we stop giving them M&M’s. When was the last time you thanked or praised or rewarded your teen for using the bathroom the right way?
But as ridiculous as that may sound, we treat much obedience like that. When our children do what’s expected, we walk away acting as if that’s how it’s supposed to be. But we know how impossible Truer obedience is. When our children do right, we need to bless them.
It may be a thank you, or a hug, or an ice cream, or all of the above, but we definitely must not merely ignore it, or grunt and move on. Obedience is a big deal, and our kids need to understand that obedience brings blessing.
Alright, we could keep talking about that, but moving on . . .
9. Jesus’ obedience rarely led to comfort and convenience, prosperity, or personal pleasure.
Now, this is an important counterpoint to the last lesson. Remember, doing the right thing in the right way just to receive a blessing is not true obedience.
Our children need to know that they will receive God’s blessing and our blessing when they obey, but that doesn’t mean that life will always be roses.
The Bible is quicker to predict our trials and testings than It is our safety and rest.
In Matthew 16:21-23 we read, “21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.””
The things God had prepared for His son were going to be hard — we already saw that. And even though obedience was going to bring Him discomfort and inconvenience, destitution, and personal sacrifice, He obeyed willingly knowing that the true blessings of obedience would outshine the hardships.
Alright, we’re almost done . . . thank you for sticking with me.
And this last truth leads to number ten . . .
10. Jesus’ obedience lead to blessing from His Father.
Listen to Philippians 2:5-11, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Alright your patience is appreciated. I don’t normally go this long, so let’s wrap it up.
If it was good enough for Christ, shouldn’t it be good enough for us?
Please, share episode with your friends. Whether they have kids or not, everyone needs this.
The episode notes are ready and waiting for you at our blog, Taking Back the Family. You can find the link below.
And don’t miss our next episode. I was finally able to connect with Mark Shaw. We’re going to continue our discussion about children and addictions. If you missed the first episode on this topic, go back and listen to number 114. And then catch our next show.
And don’t think that it doesn’t apply to you because your children are young. Your kids are definitely addicted, and we need to know how to spot it.
You guys are great. I applaud your desire to know God’s Word and teach it to your children.
We appreciate and value you and are here if you need us.
See you next time.
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