“Children should learn that in submission to the laws of the household is their perfect liberty. Christians will learn the same lesson – that in their obedience to God’s law is their perfect freedom.”1

As a parent, it is easy to get busy with the day’s duties and chores. We make a request of our child then continue on with our work. I’m guilty of this; as a result, I don’t insist on immediate obedience. My child’s behavior as of late, though, has shown me that I need to make some changes.

When I ask my daughter to comb her hair and put her toys away, she should not feel it her right to ignore me and go outside to ride her bike. When I call her back inside to do the two things I’ve requested, she gets angry with me. I calmly remind her that if she had been obedient, she would not be coming back inside; she would be free to ride her bike.

When my husband and I ask our daughter to stop eating until we have had the blessing, she should not feel it her right to continue feeding herself. Alas, problems arise. Weak from hunger, I get so upset I have to leave the table. While walking outside and praying, it dawns on me that my daughter should be the one leaving the table until she is willing to be obedient and respectful of our family rules.

Here’s the reality: Rules and expectations are laid down to help the family run smoothly, respectfully and to bring about the most happiness possible. If each family member does that which is expected, it show respect and respect brings happiness.

Is it any different with God? We are made in His image. Jesus came to this world to give us a living example of what we all must be. He showed us how to rely upon divine power through prayer and simple requests for strength to resist temptation and evil.

With our children, disobedience in that which is least will soon, if uncorrected, lead to greater offenses. Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10).

Faithfulness equals happiness. Being unjust brings unhappiness. Which means:

We can only be truly happy through obedience.


 © 2011, C. Gillan Byrne

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1 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Key to Happiness and Success (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 85, ¶1). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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