Are You A Disobedient Child?

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Disobedient Child Title

A man had two sons.  And he went to the first and said, “Son, would you go and work in the yard today?”

The son answered, “No, I won’t.”  but later, he changed his mind and went out to work as his father asked.

The father went to the other son and did the same and he aswered, “yes, Sir, I will go work,”  but he did not go.

Which one of those sons did what the father wanted?

{Paraphrased from Matthew 21:28-31}


That’s not my story.  It’s Jesus’.  He told it to the people gathered around him in Jerusalem in the temple in his last days.  Everyone answered that the first son was the obedient one, of course. Then Jesus said to them:

Truly I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.  And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.  (Matthew 21:31-32 ESV)

He follows that up with another parable about a landowner who sent his servants to work in his fields, and the tenants on his land beat and murdered the servants.  Finally he sent his son, and they did the same to him.  Therefore, the landowner would have those murderous tenants put to death and give the land over to new tenants.

This is all to say that he sent his prophets and his son to his people (the Jews) but many of them rejected them.  They would not believe, so he would give the kindgom to the Gentiles and “sinners” who would glorify him and honor him.  They would bear good fruit, as the next verse says:

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. (Matthew 21:43 ESV)

When I read this chapter this morning, my first inclination was to look at those rascals, the Pharisees, and see how wrong they were.  How could they not see that they had the Treasure right there with them and they rejected Him?  How could they be so blind?  I saw it as a history lesson: this is what happened in the days before the crucifixion.

Then, the word got into me, as it does because “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)  And my soul was pierced.

Lord, I asked, am I the disobedient child?

Do I read his word, sit in the pew and listen, and say “yes, yes, God, yes, I will…”  and then get distracted?

I’m just like my children who answer my directions with “yes, ma’am” and then continue staring transfixed at their screens.

Distracted Child

I hear his word, and answer “yes, God, I will feed the hungry,” or “yes, Papa, I will love the unlovely,” but then I sit, transfixed by the busyness of this life hoping that tomorrow will be a better day for obedience.

We have an expression in our house:

Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Oh, Lord.  There you go turning my own words against me, again.

Children are a blessing, in many ways.  They teach us things about ourselves we never would have seen on our own.  It seems I am often learning how to be a better child of God by applying my own expectations for my children to myself.

He says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kindgom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4 ESV)

So how can I be a more obedient child?

There’s a great little book I have called the 10 Second Rule by Clare DeGraaf.  It’s a brief and easy read with life-changing results.

What is the 10 Second Rule?  Easy: just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do. 

How can I be reasonably certain?  Well, it’s pretty simple, but I’d probably get charged with plagiarism if I lay it out for you as well as Mr. DeGraaf does.  If you don’t know how to recognize the will of God or His voice, I highly recommend picking up that book.  You could read through it in a weekend.

The 10 Second Rule is the reason I am writing this post right now.  I read this chapter in Matthew this morning, and it cut me to the core.  I intended to keep these thoughts to myself.  I am so afraid that you’ll think I’m preaching to you on something when I have no authority to preach.  But God kept nudging me.  As Beth Moore once said, “Jesus! He’s the bossiest thing!”

So here I am, spilling my heart and hoping I’ve made the right decision.

Tell me, do you struggle with delayed obedience?



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    1. The good thing is, our salvation is not based on obedience. None of us is good enough, obedient enough, or Christ-like enough to get to heaven on our own. Only through the blood of Jesus are we saved, through belief in his sacrifice and divinity. Our love and belief spurs us on toward obedience, but it is not what saves.

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