My son is six and he is determined.
He is determined to do life his way. For example, when we are crossing the road and I ask him to hold my hand, he will immediately fold his arms, stick his chest out and walk across the road without a glance my way.
One day, when I was at my wits end, I said to him (ok, maybe yelled) “Why can’t you just OBEY ME?”
While my son continued to completely ignore me, the Holy Spirit didn’t.
'Sounds familiar' said the soft whisper. “What?” I replied, astounded that God would put me in the same category as my unyielding son.
You don’t like obedience either came the gentle answer. “Oh that is not true!” came my rebuttal.
“What do You mean I don’t like obedience?” I muttered aloud.
“Well who does like obedience? It is hard work, but we have to do it. You expect us to do it God!” finished off my tirade.
Silence met my sullen response.
And as I began to calm down, I realised the Spirit’s whisper was right.
How could I expect my son to do something that I didn’t like doing?
I began to reflect on why I struggled with the concept of obedience.
As if a light turned on in a dark room, it became clear that my definition of obedience was outdated.
Obedience, as I comprehended it, was based upon forced submission. One party holds all the power and dictates to another, with no thought given to the submissive parties desires. It was based on command and control. This view had developed through past teaching and worldly views, which I had come to resent.
So what should my definition of be? I began to wonder.
As I began to look deeper I quickly discovered that throughout the bible, the most common interpretations of obedience come from the Hebrew word “Shama”, which means to “hear intelligently and harken to a higher authority; to have a hearing heart.”
The biblical definition has communication at the heart of the act of obedience. It reveals that an intimate relationship exists between a hearer and a speaker. For a person to ‘hear their heart’ they must know the speaker deeply, intimately. The hearer follows the speaker because they trust that their heart is for them, that they are asking them to listen and obey because it will be a blessing to them.
My old definition was definitely economy class and the Holy Spirit was offering me an upgrade to first class – He wholly redefined obedience to me.
As I applied this to my life and my family, I began to see the Holy Spirit at work in new and amazing ways.
Obedience – defined correctly – is a true gift that we can give to God and He in return pours out great blessing upon us!
 Strong’s Expanded Concordance of the Bible (2001) Thomas Nelson Publishers