Obedience Is Learned

[Note: this is a continuing part of a series reproducing a sermon. An explanation can be found here.]

Obedience, I should add, then is something we grow into.

Imagine a father who took his two year old son aside to tell him what was expected of him in life.

“Son,” he says, “There are a number of things which you need to attend to as you go through life – things that will contribute to your life and happiness.” And for the next week without stop he lectures the son on all the rules that we as adults take for granted.

About day five, he’s addressing plagiarism and how he should never give his schoolwork to another to copy. This is something everyone should know, so he lays it out. For his two year old.

Midway through day six he’s explaining the rules for when and where he should stop for a school bus and other emergency vehicles. Life is full of rules, and so to succeed in life this two year old needs to know them.

Ridiculous, of course.

Children grow into obedience. They grow into ‘doing the right thing’, learning what that is in the context of living, with parental instruction and guidance. That is, they learn it in community.

We similarly grow into obedience – we grow in our understanding as we grow, through the Scriptures and through, quite literally, the company we keep. I don’t expect a toddler to keep all the food on the table, but a fifteen year old had better. Through regular participation in the community and in worship and in the Word, we learn obedience as we grow.