There is a direct correlation between the ease of a request and the odds of obedience. Obedience is a gift. When a horse or person obeys you, which emotion is most likely to show up, gratification or gratitude?
I know, sometimes the emotion is more like shock. “Hey, Josh, would you go find your little sister?” Your often oblivious fourteen-year-old son stands, meets your eyes, and with a simple smile and nod, drops his iPhone onto the slip-covered sofa, says “Sure”, and pops off to find your daughter.
Your hand immediately covers your heart and you crumple into the La-Z-Boy. Shock does that to people. Teens can be so unpredictable. 🙂
Obedience is a Relationship Barometer
Shock happens when you don’t expect your request to be taken seriously. Meaning, you have little faith in that relationship.
Humility encircles your heart like a warm hug when someone offers you his or her time, energy, or cash just to be nice. Your neighbor knows you sprained your knee at work Friday and mows your lawn. A letter arrives with the news that an anonymous benefactor paid off your mortgage. Whether the gift is large or small, I expect your emotion is more gratitude than accomplishment.
That’s the feeling I get when a horse obeys my request. I expect obedience because of the depth of relationship we share, but that doesn’t lessen the value of the gift.
When a horse and I are strangers, he offers obedience when my “ask” is easy and natural. Once the horse knows that I won’t ask for more than what he can easily do, that I will always thank him for his “yes”, won’t pester him with “just one more” until next Tuesday, and will stop asking once he does as requested, he becomes more interested in both me and offering obedience again.
Directives Require Compliance – Requests Ask for Obedience
Obedience is never the result of an order, but is rather a gesture of respect or attachment. Commands imply a consequence for failure; requests don’t.
Nothing in life is unilateral; actions cause reactions, east and west do meet somewhere, and every change you make elicits some change in the people or places around you.
Simple Requests Produce Greater Obedience
Whether you work with dogs, horses, children, parishioners, or inmates, how easy are you to obey? Is what you ask clear and easy to perform, and are your requests free of emotional baggage?
Consider the Quality of Your Requests
- Are your requests burdensome? Difficult? Unclear?
- Are you grateful for obedience or is your ego still just the tiniest bit involved?
- Is there a purpose to your ask?
- Is there a benefit to your ask?
- Whose success is more important to you, the one to whom you’ve made a request or your own?
Easy to Obey
You obey Jesus Christ because you love Him. His yoke is easy and His burden light. He loves you and will never leave or forsake you. Are you as easy to obey? As committed?
That’s the heart of obedience in a nutshell.
Regardless of translation or edition, 1 John 5:3 varies very little. If you’re curious, look at other translations of this verse on Biblehub.