The Key to a Happy Life

I guess it started about a month or so ago. I had recently moved back from my summer in an apartment back home. It was a fun summer of living  by myself, but I was clearly led back home, so home I came, and things were not going well.

Any young adult who has lived on their own and then returned home can imagine the difficulties I was having. It’s not that my parents are controlling, it’s that the think they can give their opinion on how I live my life and what I wear and how my room looks, and I had this mindset that because I had reached the magical age of adulthood, their opinion was no longer needed or welcome. Discord ensued.

One day, as I was mulling over a recent squabble and having an inward dialogue with myself/ God about how I was supposed to be an adult when I was being treated like a child, a thought came to me, and it set everything else in motion.

“Sarah, I didn’t put an age limit on honoring your parents. In Proverbs, I dare you to find a verse that says ‘until you are 18, honor your mother and father and adhere to their wisdom.’ Nope, it just says “honor your parents and it will go well for you.”

Society would love to put an age cap on that. They would love to tell yo that as soon as you move out or turn 18 or 21 that you are officially  your own entity. you need nothing and no one’s advice or input. You have reached adulthood and so you answer to no one.

What a dangerous way to live.

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So I began to study obedience in the bible. God has so much to say about  what happens when we obey authority. I want God’s best in my life. I want opportunities and healthy relationships and joy unthinkable, but those are byproducts, not entitled privileges. If I want life and life abundantly, I must honor authority, no matter how old or wise I am.

This is an extremely counter-cultural principle, and it seems God is really challenging me to think differently than other people my age about a lot of things, and let me tell you, people will not hesitate to shoot you down or make fun of you for living differently. But y’all. I want God’s blessing on my life. I want nothing to block me hearing his voice. I want to get along with my parents. I want to attract the right kind of guy. I want you to want those things, but of course I can’t force that on anyone.

I can say this though. As God has been teaching me about the immense blessing that comes with obedience, He has given me grace to walk a narrower road, and my relationships with almost everyone I know have improved! Honor works! And we don’t honor our parents or authority figures because they deserve it. We honor because it’s the right thing to do.

The church I went to Sunday encouraged me so much! The pastor talked about how God has set up a certain way of doing things and  it’s not legalism to obey him, it’s where life is! What God asks of us is to love him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strengths, and He said his yoke his easy and his burden is light.

In the Old Testament, where there was so much protocol and so many intricate rules that had to be followed, God asked his children  to abide by that, but when Jesus came, he fulfilled the law, and in its place, invited us, beckoned us, welcomed us into living a completely different kind of life, a life where we are challenged to honor those who don’t deserve it, love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. The standards didn’t lessen because we are now “under grace,” they increased! How many times did Jesus say “You’ve heard it said ……but I SAY…..” In other words, there used to be a law that said don’t commit adultery, but I don’t want you to just follow a rule written on a stone tablet, I want to transform your heart and get to the real crux of the matter—that long before you commit a sexual sin, you have a thought, and I want to take over your thought life. I want your whole being, and as you walk with me and die to yourself and honor your parents or your spouse or whomever, you better watch out because all the nets you have can’t hold the fish you’re about to catch.”

Or at least I can imagine  him saying that. What an incredible privilege to have Jesus, who has made a way for us to live in communion with him by the shedding of his blood.

It’s a privilege well worth cleaning your room.

 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. 11 The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.–Deuteronomy 28

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.–Psalm 34

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.– Romans 12

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