Monday, July 22, 2013

Is Delayed Obedience Disobedience?

"Delayed obedience is disobedience." Once I became aware of this phrase I used it at every turn to make my children obey me immediately. There was some frustration on my part, as I wanted what I said to be done instantly and without question. I had a selfish motive and I don't think that was the intention of this phrase.

Obedience often indicates a relationship. Obedience is defined as:
  1. Compliance with someone's wishes or orders or acknowledgment of their authority. 
  2. Submission to a law or rule.

Within the family, typically the parent does have the child's best interest at heart and unquestionable obedience is what most parents want. (I did not want to reason with a 2 yr old).

However as a child gets older, they may question your request. I don't necessarily think this is wrong as it depends on how and why. We can question and reason with God, not to do things our way but to do what He asks of us.

As a parent, if I'm honest there are some things that are requested that warrant questioning. I know for me, I did many things because this is what my parents did, but if a child questioned me, it made me stop and think and sometimes change my requests.

After you have reasoned everything out, once you are told to do something and it is the right thing to do, you should do it. Don't delay further in your response because ultimately obedience reveals the motives of your heart;  delayed obedience is disobedience.

As it relates to spiritual matters - delayed obedience to God is indeed disobedience. He always has our best interest at heart even though we don't always know it. Scripture tells us - to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is a sin (James 4:17).  Also, to obey is better than to sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). In this instance, Saul took matters into his own hands and did what he thought was right, and in that very instance, lost his kingship.

This makes it seem like God is a, "Because I said so" God or He's holding a big stick over us and we're quivering fear. In the human realm, this can happen because we are not perfect like God is. But God sincerely has our best interests at hearts - He blesses and disciplines us with the sole purpose of molding us more into his character. If more people had Godly character, well,...... that would be heaven.

We ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29

Do you struggle with obedience to anyone, to God? Do you have a hard time submitting?


  1. What a good post. I think with a child, questioning is part of growing and learning, much as it is with God. As mature Christians, we NOW understand that to delay simply results in lost time, reduced blessings . . . because He just know best. Frankly, even the mature Christian may hesitate: "What will this mean for me?" "God, if I am to be honest with you, I'm scared." Or "God, will you help me, will you be there with me?" "God, I do not want to do this." As my mother-in-law says when you know better you do better. As I get older, I have no struggle around God's plan for my life but I may ask why, why me, or how. As I follow so He blesses me.

    Thank you for this post.

  2. I like the premise of your idea, Nylse, but I remember the parable Jesus taught about the two sons and obedience. When they were asked to do something, the first son said, "Yes," and never did it. The second son said, "No," but later was convicted and did what he was asked to do. Jesus then posed the question--"Who was the obedient one?" Obviously the one who did what was asked--even in the end. So, it's a matter of the heart if there is obedience even if it is SOMEWHAT delayed.
    Just a thought,

    1. initially i thought of including this parable, but it seemed to have a deeper meaning beyond obedience. I did not want to misinterpret it's true application.
      I don't think the son delayed in his obedience because initially he had no intention of obeying- I think once he realized it was the right thing to do, he did it.
      Thanks for the food for thought.

    2. Exactly. That son did not want to obey an initio but he later repented and went. The focus here is not only obedience but repentance.

  3. I do notice that I'm somewhat delayed at times. I just ask a lot of questions a lot of time. But I think as I've gotten older I'm getting a little better with letting Him direct me. I just need to get better with not questioning and just doing.

  4. I'm a Christian, but recently I started to question this phrase. Because I do not think that obedience itself means to do something immediately, so for an example: if someone asks me to do a task, but before getting to the task, I got obstacles to get past (which will mean I lost time doing the task/delayed, because I had to get past the obstacles first). But that doesn't mean disobedience technically. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    1. Well, I think it depends on the circumstance, but God should always be your first priority. Make sure you put nothing before Him.

  5. What about the parable of the two sons in Matthew 21:28-31?


I love reading your comments; but please be kind. Unkind comments will be removed.