One of the great joys of Bible study is finding words and phrases which have great truths but which can so easily be overlooked. Read the following verse, and see if you may have overlooked one of the “hidden” truths. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:8-9). He learned obedience! Obedience is not something which happens accidently, it must be learned.
There is no doubt that Jesus came into the world to do the will of God (Heb. 10:7). Because our High Priest was tempted in every way in which we are, He had to learn that which we learn—He had to learn to obey.
When He taught His disciples how to pray, He included the petition, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” He explained to His followers why He behaved the way He did by saying, “I always do those things which please Him” (John 8:29). Facing the horrendous agony of Gethsemane and Golgotha, He prayed, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). His great commission showed the importance of His followers learning to obey. “Make disciples…teaching them to observe all things” (Matt. 28:19-20).
One mistake I see so many young parents make is failing to teach them obedience. That obedience is important is seen in the prominence given to it in the Ten Commandments. “Honor your father and your mother as the Lord has commanded you….that it may be well with you” (Deut. 5:16). This command is placed above those about murder and adultery. Yet, far too many young parents do not see this. Honoring and obeying parents will not happen naturally, it must be learned.
The modern philosophy about dealing with children is distraction. When a child is told to do something, and he shows displeasure, parents are being taught to distract them or bribe them in some fashion. What happens at that time is the children may be distracted and conflict is avoided, but that child did not learn obedience.
This lesson about obedience is learned best when the child is very young. In the first year of a child’s life, he can learn the meaning of the word “No.” He must learn this, for the world does not revolve around the child; he will not always get his way. That lesson must be learned early and repeatedly emphasized as the child grows. He will learn parents’ rules (and God’s) must be obeyed. Wait until he is a teen to teach this, and he will likely be unmanageable.
Jesus learned obedience. Parents, set guidelines and use the conflict to teach them what Jesus had to learn!