A week or so ago, my sweet son came in to ask if he could do something that he hadn’t had a chance to do over the previous few days. I said yes. He walked out of the room cheering, “Finally!”
Now, keep in mind, my son is not deprived. It’s not that he hadn’t been able to do anything fun for days. In fact, it’s not even that he’d asked all that many times to partake in this particular activity. But, for some reason he felt like he’d been deprived, and he just had to express it. I must confess, that response chafed me the wrong way, and I almost snapped. But, the Lord has been working on me over the years, teaching me to control my temper and respond in a teaching and training manner rather than an angry one. So, I called him back to me for a nice little…ahem…discussion.
Calmly but firmly, I reminded my son that he was not deprived. I also reminded him of all the things he’d gotten to do over the previous few days. Finally, I pointed out the need for an attitude adjustment. His attitude was becoming more and more ungrateful over time. He would get something he wanted, but then always want more. More time or an additional game on the Wii. More snack. More wrestling with Daddy. More snuggles with Mommy. More special things like trips out to eat. Nothing is inherently wrong with any of those, but my big boy was growing less satisfied with them. Why? Because he felt he was never getting enough. He always wanted more. So, what he was getting was leaving him empty. He was constantly irritable because he wasn’t getting his way, and tears would flow much more frequently than laughter.
So, I pointed out something that he had not done lately. He had not said thank you. He had not been thankful for the things he was allowed to do, instead focusing on what he couldn’t have. I told him he needed to change his attitude, or he would start finding a lot more restriction than permission.
What I didn’t expect was the immediate change in my son’s life. He took my words to heart, chose to obey, and started saying thank you for everything. His attitude changed. His enjoyment changed. And, instead of never feeling as if he had enough, he began to find pleasure in the things he had been missing because of his grumpy attitude. The difference in his very young life was profound, immediate, and powerful.
What if we were to obey so immediately and instantaneously? What if we were to truly live out even the simplest instructions given to us by our perfect heavenly Father? In Matthew 18:3, Jesus told us that we must come as little children, and as I watch my own children, I increasingly see why. Simple, immediate obedience makes a profound, immediate change.
What has God put in front of you lately? What attitude adjustment? What action? What step of faith? If a five-year-old can profoundly change his attitude practically overnight by one simple act of obedience, what could happen in your life with one act of obedience? I challenge you to try it. And I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the results.