Have you ever had a parent warn you about something but you did it anyway? Like don’t touch that stove because it’s hot. Or, don’t date that boy because he is bad news. How about the command to come straight home after school? While you may not have broken these simple rules or suggestions you get the point.
Can you remember a time when you said to yourself “I should have listened” or “If I knew then what I know now…” These statements signal something interesting. What they relay is the fact that somewhere in your life you got off track, you went against something that you shouldn’t have, you bucked the system. While today we might glorify those individuals who are “radicals” or “free spirits,” I wonder the cost that they pay. Some of their punishments are visible. Maybe people slander their names. Perhaps their reputations are run through the mud. Maybe they are left ashamed, but what about you?
Are you tuned into your mind, body, and spirit enough to catalogue the ticks or tally marks due to disobedience. Maybe you thought something was cool to indulge in, but it left you broken with pieces of yourself scattered all across America. What people don’t tell you is that every time you engage in an inappropriate relationship with others a piece of you leaves with them. They don’t just exit your life without taking souvenirs. Just ask your emotions.
I learned this lesson the hard way honestly. I was hellbent on doing things the way I wanted to do them. I was hard of heart and hard of hearing. I didn’t heed the advice that people offered me because of course what happened to them never will happen to me. This toxic thinking, the feeling that I’m an anomaly got me into some tough situations. It taught me resilience but also challenged me in the areas of my brokenness.
Through my pain, struggles with identity and hardship, I entered into obedience training. I didn’t know that my pain was a training ground for God to work. I didn’t know that the wavering in my spirit was him strengthening my yes to him. I was being trained long before I knew it. Training is tough if I can be honest. It is that thing that we don’t like to talk about. It’s that thing that we like to paint our cutesy smile over. But it’s real and it will find you out.
Somethings can be avoided if we heed to the voice of God the first time. Yet, if something doesn’t make sense to us, we want to go investigate the matter which only entangles us more. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons in life like don’t play with fire. Like don’t give the benefit of the doubt if it doesn’t sit right with you. Like don’t leave God for a person. Like don’t try to evangelize him to make him the one. Like don’t say you’re trying to help someone with something that you’re still struggling with.
Obedience training encompasses lots of things. It cuts different areas in your life. It challenges you to be better. It makes you better. I don’t think you can become a better person without yielding to the one who makes you better.