Before you get all excited and think I'm going to tell you how, in seven simple steps, you can live an obedient lifestyle, I'm not. Besides, there is only one step anyway. Just do it. (Yeah, Nike had it first, I know.)
My son Connor was carrying the dog, something I've asked him repeatedly not to do. I told him to put her down, and it took him seven full steps across the living room to actually obey. I made him go back and recount his steps to illustrate just how long it took him to obey. We talked about the importance of doing what he is told when he is told to do it. If that had been a different situation, say, crossing a street, his disobedience could have had tragic consequences.
I know God teaches us through our kids, and this conversation has been rolling around in my brain for a week or so now. How many steps does it take us to walk in obedience to Him? More importantly, if we are not walking toward Him, we are walking away. How many steps in disobedience are you going to take?
In life there are often times that we think it is ok to take one step from where we know we are supposed to be. If you are dieting, just one snack size bag of chips...skipping the class just one time...just one extra bite when I'm done dishing everyone else up...before you know it you have taken a whole lot more than one step, but each one makes the successive step easier. And more justifiable...I've already screwed up.
Dieting is the easy example, but it covers everything. Fighting with your husband....the dad on the playground is kind of nice...it's just coffee...next thing you know you are on a very slippery slope that you never intended to be on. Maybe not that quick or dramatic, but you see how one step in the wrong direction can lead to several more.
The world we live in makes it tricky to stay on that narrow path of obedience. You can hardly watch primetime tv without being hit in the face with so many things that are contrary to God's standard. But some things are just funny, so you laugh. Then you watch some more. And laugh some more. Soon it becomes funny to disrespect your husband and go for the easy laugh. Disobedient kids on sitcoms become the norm, and we wonder why our kids don't show us proper respect. We become culturally numb to all things biblical, and wonder what went wrong.
It takes discernment, courage, and character to live a life of obedience. It would be much easier to jump on the band wagon of what everyone else thinks and believes, but that is not what God has asked of us as believers. That is not why He gave His Son for us.
This is not meant to spur a debate on obedience vs. grace. None of us will ever measure up, and He has made provision for that. But, in the things that we know we are doing wrong, and justifying as acceptable, we need to do better. Not just shrug our shoulders and say "That's just the way I am", because it's not. God made you in His image. Challenge yourself, as I challenge myself, to confront disobedience on the first step. Don't wait until you find yourself in a pit to make some changes. The pit could be as few as seven steps away.