Yesterday in assembly we spoke with our Upper-level students about the value of obedience and looked at scriptures about lawlessness. To be lawless is to live as if the rules don't apply to you--that for some reason you don't have to follow them. Hebrews 1:9 says about Christ, "You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness." It's a big deal when God hates something. He hates it when we are defiant, disobedient, or lawless. In fact, it is rebellion against boundaries and instructions that brought the entire state of sin and its consequences to humanity. Adam and Eve's rebellion against God's boundaries/rules/preferences, and instructions brought severe consequences.
In a world that tells everyone to do whatever they want and that makes an individual path for everyone to live as they each see right in their own eyes, we must do the opposite and build the correct values into our students' hearts. Culture and our sinful nature say that if you don't like the boundaries, just defy them and be sneaky to not get caught. This is not what we want to be built into our students.
Yesterday, we talked with our students about the importance of always obeying authority and that to disobey earthly authority is actually to disobey the Lord. Romans 13:1-2 says, "For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." It is important to understand the power of obedience and how God wants us to have obedient hearts and lives.
When we disobey our parents because we don't like or we disagree with their rules or because we think we can get away with it--we are actually disobeying God and acting in lawlessness. For example, a child may not like a parent's rule about a phone and might even do it differently as a parent one day but the child should obey the rule now--because to do differently would be to defy the Lord. He values obedience. Christ Himself was obedient to the Father--even unto death. He was perfect and eternal without beginning or end yet totally subjected Himself to the will of God--which included being locked in human flesh, being raised by parents, dealing with unjust taxes, and so much more!
It's critical for children to learn that obeying all authority is tied to their relationship with God. Learning to submit oneself is easy when you agree. It's when you don't agree or don't like something that you truly learn if you can have a submissive heart and can subject yourself to the established boundaries.
Ultimately, it is only if earthly authority asks us to disobey the Lord that we should not submit to it(Acts 5:29).
Of course, learning to obey and submit to authority will serve everyone well in all of life. As adults, our children will face work situations, environments, rules, instructions, and boundaries that they don't necessarily agree with or that they might handle differently if they were in charge. However, they must be willing and able to honor the rules of their context. Most significant is that God is sovereign and He is using our context and whatever rule of the day from their parents, school, workplaces, or others to train them, teach them, test their hearts, and shape them. He's trying to form them into adults who will have been trained and will obey the Lord without reservation. A heart trained by life's circumstances to obey is one that God can use mightily in the future because if we are faithful in the little things (parent/school/work rules) then God can trust us in the bigger things of life (Luke 16:10).
Let us never permit our children to defy the rules, to be sneaky, to walk in craftiness (2 Cor 4:2), but instead let's help them see that even a rule or a boundary they don't agree with is meant for their good and more importantly is being used by God to develop them, train them, and teach them how to submit their will, how to follow, how to heed, how to deny their flesh and carnal desires, and how to obey. This will empower them for a rich and fulfilling life in Christ.