They are called life commandments, those saying that come to us from our parents probably from our grand and great grandparents, those sayings that govern our lives. One of my dad’s favorites has always been, “Jump when I say jump, and ask how high on the way up.” I heard it early, and I heard it often whenever Dad was trying to instill in me the importance of and need for first time obedience.
First time obedience is a teacher’s dream. We speak often of wishing our students paid the kind of attention that would allow us to give instructions once and have a realistic expectation that those instructions would be followed. It would seem, however, that first time obedience is not part of the characteristics common in human nature. Had it been, Dad would not have had to ever use that infamous maxim. He would have been able to ask us or tell us to do a task with full expectation that it would be done.
Apparently, this lack of attention is not limited to the modern or post-modern generations. Pastor Paul also had to remind the early Christ followers that their lives ought to be without grumbling or questioning, that they should have a faith which would compel them to a life modeled after that of Jesus “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2 ESV).
Be we adult or be we children seems not to matter. The rebellion is in us, and we would prefer to grumble and question. But, a life of faith is a life surrendered to God. It is a life that “let’s God be God,” a life lived in such a manner “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life…” (Philippians 2 ESV)