The other day Chloe was talking to me, explaining how things "work" in a 5-year-old's world.
I love these discussions because she tells me all kinds of interesting things. Some of them make such perfect, simplistic sense, I'm amazed at how wise she is. Other times, her little explanations of life make no sense at all.
Today she made one of those no-sense statements. Talking to me slowly as if I was too dim-witted to understand if she talked at regular speed (no comments from the Peanut Gallery, thank you), she said, "Even if I don't follow your directions, I still love you."
Now, on one level that made some sense. Even though she doesn't always do what I tell her to, I know Chloe loves me. But on the other hand, it seems that her acknowledgment of her actions being contrary to my directions shows that she knows how she ought to act, but simply chooses not to.
And isn't obedience an expression of love? The apostle John certainly thought so. In 2 John 1:6 he wrote, "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands."
What does our obedience of our heavenly father say about our love for him? Are we obedient? How obedient are we - 25 percent of the time, 50 percent, 90 percent?
I submit that we ought to be 100 percent obedient to our heavenly father - not only because we love him, but also as an expression of that love.
Honestly, though, can we be 100 percent obedient? No, we can't. We're sinful. We'll never be able to be 100 percent obedient. But we still love God in spite of our inability to be completely obedient, don't we? And God still loves us.
Does that mean, then, that we can throw our hands up and say, "I can't be 100 percent obedient, but God loves me anyway, so I can just forget about trying to be obedient at all?" Again, no. The fact that we can't be 100 percent obedient does not, by exclusion, give us a license to sin as much as we want to.
Even though we can't be 100 percent obedient to our heavenly father, we ought to strive to be as obedient as possible each and every day. Furthermore, we ought to strive to be more obedient today than we were yesterday, and more obedient tomorrow than we are today.
Because our obedience to our heavenly father both indicates, and is an expression of, our love for him.
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column runs every other week in Sunday Life.