God’s goal for all of humanity is not obedience. It’s trust.
Yes, obedience is talked about a lot in the Bible. But even so, obedience is not the goal. Trust is. And trust only happens when we come to Jesus and accept the invitation he first offers us. Over and over in the Bible, God goes first. Let’s take a look:
- God calls Abram before Abram responds.
- God frees the slaves in Egypt.
- God sends manna and water in the wilderness.
- He goes first when he becomes human like us.
- He goes first when he stops beneath Zaccheaus’ tree.
- He goes first when speaking to the woman at the well.
- He goes first when offering his body and his blood at the table.
God goes first. That we can trust.
When trust is the precursor, obedience is the response. Put another way: The obedience God invites us into is a response to trusting him.
Here’s why this is important: when we put obedience over trust instead of in response to it, we deny children the opportunity to experience the same process God’s people were offered throughout history. Instead of a process, they get lists. Even if the actions on those lists are good, the list teaches kids they just need to follow the rules and be good kids.
But faith is not just about following rules.
Obedience without trust is simply behavior modification. God isn’t asking for us or for the kids in our lives to just behave. God is inviting us to get to know God, discover God can be trusted, and let that trust shape our lives. God doesn’t ask for compliance from those who don’t know God’s character. There is an order and a process and a purpose to the way the Bible talks about obedience. God goes first, giving time and space and experiences to show his trustworthiness to people, and then God invites us to choose our loyalty and respond out of love.
In this video, Meredith Miller examines Scripture’s larger themes to understand the relationships between trust and obedience.
What God wants most is for us (and our children!) to know God. If we know—if we really know—we obey because God can be trusted. It’s not because God’s the boss of me. It’s not because God said so. When our children ask why, we tell the story of what our God has done for us. We tell the stories of how we got to know that God could be trusted, and we invite our kids to do the same.
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In this inspiring parenting book, learn how to create space for your children to get to know God in a way that focuses on trust instead of a list of rigid rules.Most Christian parenting books are ready with exact practices every family should follow in order to raise obedient children. In this obedience-training model, faith is a wall, constructed brick by brick, as adults tell children what to believe and how to behave.
But what if obedience is not the goal of Christian parenting? What if it’s our job as parents to instead help our kids get to know God and discover that God can be trusted? And what if faith is not constructed brick by brick, but rather woven strand by strand?
Much like a spider’s web, in which anchor strands and internal threads combine to form a unique web, Woven can help children anchor to who God is and have faith practices that are rich, textured, and all their own. Kids need space to explore the Bible, ask big questions, and even change their understanding of God and faith along the way. With Woven, families can nurture the kind of faith that can flex and grow, be broken and repaired. This is the sort of faith that can stand up to the life a child will live, the doubts they will encounter, and the questions that will come up along the way.
So many parents want to pass along their faith, but know that God is so much bigger than the list of do’s and don’ts they were taught about as children. They want to pass along a faith their child doesn’t have to heal from. Woven is the guidebook parents have been looking for. With a deep reverence for scripture and suggested activities to help your family grow in faith together, Woven is for parents who want to go beyond a list of do’s and don’ts and pass along a resilient faith based on genuine love for and trust in God.