Nag, nag, nag – that’s all your parents seem to do. They don’t ever let you do what you want to do, nor do they let you approach things the way you think best. Same goes with your teachers, coach and even your church – everyone seems to be convinced that you need to follow their instructions.
Our parents, teachers, church, etc. don’t nag us for no reason; their persistent grumblings come because we’re probably not doing what’s asked of us. It’s easy to become annoyed by the badgering of other people. But, when we don’t follow their directions, listen or do what we’re told, their hounding becomes even more unbearable. The teenage years are a time of building up character so we can prepare for and gain our independence. But we don’t deserve that freedom if we don’t obey and follow directions.
Obtaining the respect necessary to become independent requires learning to obey the guidance of other people. No matter our age, people will provide direction and expect us to follow through. Being able to carry out instruction is a demonstration of our ability to be self-ruling and reliable.
Even though it seems annoying to always have to do what’s expected of us, obedience actually brings us joy. Obviously, when we obey the guidance of others, they’ll stop troubling us, which provides a release of stress and frustration. But, when we listen to others and follow their requests, we’re showing respect to them, which produces an opportunity for them to trust us and give us more substantial tasks to accomplish. (He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Luke 16:10) These ample duties make us more accountable and trustworthy. So, as our role in the world becomes more valid, we’re able to yield greater influence in the world. What could bring more joy than knowing how our value plays a part in the goodness and progress of the world! That’s pretty awesome.
Joy from obedience comes from the freedom we gain, it comes from strengthened relationships and it comes from our significant impact on those in our community. These may seem notable enough, but God also says that our obedience will bring us joy through knowing His will in our life, which will keep us from wavering and keep our course free from trouble. Obeying the people in our lives delights us, but obeying the Lord provides great joy.
When we follow the path God has called us to, we become fulfilled by knowing our greatest identity. Obeying the path that the Lord has provided for us shows us what we’re capable of and it pushes us to the fullness of our own ability. In a world that belittles teenagers, and doesn’t accept the power of Jesus, it’s pretty incredible to see Him move through and in us. By following the Lord and knowing who He made us to be because of our obedience to Him, we’re able to move beyond the limits we place on our selves. Obeying the Lord helps us to focus on something larger than our own ideas of what’s valuable and important. There’s joy in pursuing something bigger than what we’re capable of doing on our own.
Certainly, following an unseen being may sometimes be more difficult than obeying our parents, but God says that our path will be straight and it will be free from tribulation when we submit to Him. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways follow Him, and He will make your paths straight.” When we obey God, He will be on our side. When we don’t obey, we experience tribulation. Romans 6:16 says that when we don’t abide by the Lord, we become a slave to Satan, evil and sin. If we don’t obey the Lord’s leading, then we’re following the guidance of His enemy. But, when we do obey the Lord, we lead a virtuous, honorable and upstanding life. “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6: 16)
Finally, the greatest joy we receive from obeying the Lord is that we will experience eternal life with Him in paradise! John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” The Lord desires for us to experience His greatest joy. He wants us to obey Him so He can guide and protect us as we journey through life. But more importantly, He wants us to follow Him so we can live with Him forever!