As Obedient Children
by Jacob Hudgins
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance”(1 Pet 1:14)
Few things please parents as much as obedient children. For godly parents, this fact does not stem from a power trip but an earnest desire for the well-being of the child. Obedience ensures the child’s safety, the curtailing of bad habits, and the formation of character. So when Peter speaks of us (grown-ups!) making moral changes “as obedient children,” he is teaching us the spirit with which we serve God.
Obedient children have eagerness and willingness to obey. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance”(1 Pet 1:14). There is no reluctance, argument, or anger in obedient children. They do not have to be convinced to do the will of their parents, but are eager to submit. So God’s people are favorably disposed toward his commands, even if they are difficult. We want to do what God wants.
Obedient children have awareness of consequences. A little later Peter tells us that “if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile”(1 Pet 1:17). Since we call on God as Father—and since we know that God is a just judge—we are motivated to live in a way that honors and pleases him. Obedient children live with a degree of healthy fear that pushes them to respect their Father.
Obedient children trust their fathers. Behind obedience is a remarkable degree of trust in the goodwill of the parents. Children trust inherently that their parents will defend, provide for, and nurture them. It is this trust that is easily translated into obedience. Similarly, we follow God’s path (even when different from the one we would choose) because we trust implicitly that he wants our good.
Obedient children become similar to their parents. Assuming that parenting is fair and consistent, continual obedience will lead to children living like their parents. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’”(1 Pet 1:14-16). God does not call us to a pattern of life that he does not hold himself. In his commands for us, he is a gentle father leading us toward his character.
Let us, then, eagerly and willingly follow the will of our Father. Let’s earnestly work to move past the “passions of our former ignorance” and become holy. Let’s remember the consequences of refusing to hear our Father—and that he will judge us impartially. Let’s trust him to know and do what’s best. Let’s pursue his character! Let us be “obedient children!”