Heartfelt Obedience

I thoroughly enjoyed Mother’s Day this year. With one child in college, one about to graduate from high school, and one just growing up way too quickly, having all of my brood home at once is not something I take for granted these days! They and my husband bought me thoughtful gifts and attached meaningful notes. After a Belgian waffle breakfast, we enjoyed the morning with our church family, and the afternoon watching my son play soccer. They even gave me my choice of dinner, knowing that it would mean another round of Five Guys. I went to bed that night full and content, feeling very much loved.

Then came Monday. The stress of a pre-move housing inspection and a mile-long to-do list for graduation week jolted me out of bed earlier than usual. First on the list: an in-depth house cleaning. As I put my head down and attacked the housework, I was pleasantly surprised when all three children suddenly appeared and took on various chores. Knowing what had to be done, they jumped in and worked alongside me, without being asked and with no complaint. My heart, already full from Mother’s Day, now overflowed.

My children’s actions on this day illustrate so well the meaning of a verse I have been contemplating for some time: “But thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed (Romans 6:17).” Before I knew Christ and was still a slave to sin, my attempt at obedience to God was generally motivated by fear, or compulsion, or by a mistaken notion that I could somehow earn God’s favor (Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:9, Hebrews 12:18-24). 

But then God called me out of my life of sin, gave me a new heart, and enabled me, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to live a life that is pleasing to Him (Ezekiel 36:26, Ephesians 2:4-9, Philippians 2:13). Just like my children, who recognized that a true expression of their love for me meant so much more than presenting me with quality gifts on a prescribed day of the year, I now seek to obey God, not merely to follow a rule or check off a box, but as an expression of my devotion to Him, and of my faith in His promises (John 14:15, Hebrews 11).

Dear Father, thank you for making me alive in Christ, and for giving me a new heart that thrives on obedience to You.








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