My kids can tell you that I often use the phrase, “delayed obedience is disobedience.” It’s a great reminder for all the times I ask them to do something, and they don’t immediately obey. Maybe it’s a show they’re watching or a toy they’re playing with it, regardless of the perceived reason, they are still NOT doing what I asked them to do. As a parent, I expect my children to obey. I prefer when they to do so with a good attitude, but I realize at 4 and almost 9, that might be pushing my luck some days.
They’re choosing to obey immediately shows me several things about their character and about our relationship. When they stop the show or set aside the toy to get up and respond to my request, it tells me that not only am I important to them, but our relationship is important. Their response shows me that they honor and respect me and the authority I have over them. Their response shows me that they seek to please me and want to do their part to ensure nothing comes between us. Their response shows maturity and a willingness to be submissive appropriately to me. Their response tells me that they have heard my request and are willing to sacrifice their current moment of pleasure to obey without hesitation. Their response tells me that they trust me and my judgment to immediately fulfill what I am asking them to do regardless of their own opinions of the importance of the task.
Ironically, it’s this same lesson God used to remind me of my disobedience to Him today. He had been working on my heart about an area I needed to address (a topic for another day) and yesterday, I felt compelled to act on it. I delayed and reasoned that if it was STILL on my heart today, I’d do it. Ironically even after I landed on this idea of delayed disobedience, I STILL felt strongly that I shouldn’t wait but act now. I continued to reason with myself that it was really a small thing and no one else even knew about it so what would it matter if I waited just one day? I convinced myself that because it wouldn’t make a difference to anyone TODAY, but could potentially put me in an awkward spot, I should sleep on it just to make SURE God REALLY meant for me to do this. So, I disobeyed and delayed until the next day to gauge the level of importance then. To be completely transparent, even when I remembered this morning, I STILL didn’t respond then because it wasn’t ‘as strong’ of an urge-ridiculous I know. I continued to rationalize that maybe after little longer delay it would just go away completely. (I’ve told you before to use my life as your example of what NOT to do. You’re welcome.)
It took awhile and a few reminders on God’s part before I finally gave in. But IN His gentle reminders, I realized that my delayed obedience WAS disobedience and that because I disobeyed there would be a cost-one, I might never fully realize. Had I acted yesterday when I felt strongly about it, who knows what God was prepared to do? Had I acted yesterday, maybe the timing would’ve been ideal, but in my disobedience maybe it cost God being able to use or bless my act the way He had planned. Ultimately, I’ll never know. But, what I do know is that even though I obeyed God today, it doesn’t change the fact I disobeyed Him yesterday. It also doesn’t change what it reveals about my heart and my attitude towards God.
My disobedience shows that I care more about what I THINK someone MIGHT think about me MORE than what God thinks. It reveals that while He’s important, He’s not MORE important than myself. It reveals that while I seek God’s will and direction, I’m hesitant to obey Him if I don’t agree or understand WHY I need to. My delay shows that I still have much work to do in submitting myself to God and being willing to be humble before Him and others.