Willing Obedience

Recently, I asked little Lucy to put on her shoes. She ignored me and went on playing. I continued to prepare for our morning departure and then noticed that she had not done as I had requested. Again, I asked her to put on her shoes. She appeared to move in that direction; I finished getting ready to leave.

When ready to walk out the door, I noticed there were still no shoes on my daughter’s feet. I stopped and looked at her. I reminded her that I had already given her an instruction and yet, she had not obeyed.

Four-year-old Lucy, rolled her eyes and sighed, “Oookaaay.”

Problem #1: Where did she learn that eye-rolling thing?!

Problem #2: This was begrudging obedience.

I don’t want my child to obey because she has to; because she’s forced. I want willing, cheerful obedience. God gave her the power of choice. Right now while she is young, I have the opportunity to help train her to choose what is right and good. In the strength of God, I must repress wrong with firmness, yet without impatience or passion.1

I cannot leave my child to guess at what is right; I must point out the way to right in unmistakable terms and teach her to walk therein.2

Begrudging obedience might be obedience, but it is not honoring mother and father.3 My child must take my wishes seriously. Even in little situations like not putting on her shoes; I cannot wink at disobedience. Disobedience is sin. Little situations will lead to big situations and ultimately insubordination, want of reverence and love of self. 4

Lessons of obedience, on respect for authority, and selflessness need to be often and patiently repeated.

I dealt with the begrudging attitude in love and patience. Later, I engaged in some self-reflection to determine if I was the one teaching her such begrudging behaviors. The learning experiences are good for both of us.


© 2011, C. Gillan Byrne

Speaking appointments are typically scheduled 12 months in advance. 

To schedule a speaking appointment with Dr. Gillan Byrne, please use the email link or call (479) 216-9771.


CompletePublished writings of EGW

Bible Gateway website for KJV

1, 2, 4 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Obedience Must Become a Habit (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 87, ¶3, 5). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

3 Exodus 20:12, KJV

5, 6 The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

7 Mark 12:31, KJV