“But he [Joseph] had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus” – Matthew 1:25
James T. White has said that perhaps the most effective illustration of obedience is the reply of the mother of George Washington made at the banquet given to the allied officers after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. A distinguished French officer asked Washington’s mother how she managed to rear such a splendid son. She replied, “I taught him to obey”.
As we further explore the concept of intentional relationships with our children, another key character concept comes to mind; that of integrity and obeying the Lord without question. When our children are younger, we teach them to obey the first time, because we want them to have a healthy respect for authority and also possibly for their safety. I always reminded my children that there may come a day when I only have one chance to tell you something and I want to know that you will obey it immediately- it may save your life! As our children grow and see that we, as parents, have their best interest at heart, there is (hopefully) the increase in their obedience; knowing they can fully trust their parents. As our children got older, we began to transfer that same concept over to the Word of God and obeying God without question.
Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, was as an example in this area. Betrothed to Mary, Joseph had every earthly, legal “right” to end the betrothal to Mary after finding out about Mary being pregnant. Yet, Joseph obeyed God without question in staying with Mary and even naming the baby Jesus. It’s speculative on my part, but I can imagine that he had to endure some harsh pressure culturally, with this decision. His very moral character would’ve been in question by those who did not understand. Yet, Joseph was a man of great integrity and faith. He had no union with Mary (even though they were married), until after Jesus was born. Joseph obeyed God and fled to Egypt with the young Jesus and Mary, to protect him. Even though most agree that Joseph passed away before Jesus fully revealed himself as savior of the world, everything we do read about him brings about the thought of respect, integrity and obedience to God.
Our Children’s Obedience
Do we foster that same type of obedience in our children? Not just to us when they are younger, but as they age, do we transfer that same unquestioning obedience to their relationship with God? In a culture that wants to “challenge everything”, that can be difficult. The world has gone to the extreme with this thought. It is ok to question something, tactfully and respectfully, with the intent of learning and discussion. Challenging would be a totally different paradigm; one of rebellion and being closed to anything said.
We know that as believers, we are to continually point our children to Christ; to teach them of the Scriptures and to reassure and teach them of unchanging, uncompromising truth. Not to gain some sort of favor with God, or to look better than others, but out of a love for God and a trust that He will remain perfectly true and steadfast to His Word; they can trust it.
What about You?
Will you walk in integrity and unwavering, unquestioning faith and obedience to God?
Will you intentionally teach this to your children?