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  • Sarah Russell

Purple paint- A Lesson in Obedience

By Sarah Russell

Ephesians 6:1 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Philippians 2:5-8 - Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

“When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.” -Elisabeth Elliot

“A whole lot of what we call ‘struggling’ is simply delayed obedience.” -Elisabeth Elliot.

One summer’s day my four-year-old daughter came to me with a box of paints and asked if we could paint a picture for someone. A sweet thought, but I was a bit busy at the time so I said, “Not right now. Maybe later today. Go and put the paint away for now.” Then I left the room and went back to my housework.

A short time later, my sweet girl came to me with a look of guilt, her paints in hand. Her shirt was all wet from her attempts to wash away the evidence of her disobedience. There, with downcast eyes, she confessed that she had opened the paint, made a mess, and tried to clean it up. I finished cleaning her up and sent her to wait for me in her room for further “discussion” on the matter. Then I went to the kitchen to further assess the messy situation.

There was no evidence of paint where my daughter had been sitting. But in the next seat over sat her little sister, covered with purple paint! With a bit of exasperation I cleaned her up and changed her clothes. And then we finished our “discussion” about obedience with the two of them.

Later as I sat pondering the seemingly funny situation and mess, the Lord put this thought in my heart as a reminder.

At times, as God’s child, He tells me not to do something. Or tells me to stop and wait patiently until He gives me the go ahead. When we are obedient children we say, “Yes sir!” We wait patiently, we stop in obedience, we listen to our loving Father, for He knows best! But at times we are disobedient. We push ahead of our Father. We go ahead and do the thing He told us not to do. “How bad could it be? He’s let me do it before. Why should I be patient? What could happen?”

Disobedience is sin no matter how big or small.

When my little girl disobeyed and opened her paint, it wasn’t in her plan to get messy. And it never occurred to her that her younger sister would join her or that purple paint would be all over the place. 

But isn’t that just the way sin is? We don’t plan on our simple disobedience getting us messy. It’s just a little thing in our eyes. And of course no one else could possibly be affected by our decision, right?

My daughter didn’t get very messy with her paint. And she did a good job cleaning herself up, considering her age. But there was still evidence of her disobedience. There was still a little bit of paint on her clothes and hands. I knew she had disobeyed without her saying a word. Just as when I disobey what my Father has said in His Word or through His Spirit, He knows I disobeyed before I ever confess. I may try to clean up my mess and fix the problem, but eventually I have to go to my Father and confess that I disobeyed. I made a mess of things again. And though He gives me a “discussion,” He also washes me in His love and His chastisement reminds me that I am His child. I can’t stay in my mess. It must be cleaned up, but He still loves me.

But you know the thing about this messy story that touches my heart the most? My daughter’s disobedience affected more than just herself. Her mess went beyond herself. Her decision to disobey brought about the choice of someone else to sin along with her. Someone else followed her example. And her sister’s mess was far worse than her own. A mess that she couldn’t even begin to clean up herself.

So what’s the lesson here? People are watching you. People are following your example...a sister in Christ, an unsaved coworker, perhaps your very own children. Your disobedience will, without a doubt, affect others. When we choose disobedience in our lives, someone may be right behind us following our path of destruction. The thoughts some may have could be, “If Sarah did it, it must be fine.” “If she watches that TV show, reads that book, or acts with that sort of attitude it surely can’t be wrong.”

We must be so careful to not become a stumbling block to another soul along the way- saved or lost.

We will give an account for our disobedience and its influence on others. Our complete obedience to our Father is the least we can do for Him! And Christ is the supreme Example of true obedience. Philippians 2:5-8 — He was obedient even unto death! And the effect of His obedience is our salvation. What obedience!

So how is your obedience today? Are we submitted and obedient to God’s Word? Or are we in disobedience, negatively affecting our friends and families choices? Are we following Christ’s example of obedience to the very end? Or are we choosing our “purple paint”? Let’s choose to live in sweet obedience today, my friend! It truly is the very best way to live!

There is no life like an obedient Christian’s life.


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