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Take Two Steps

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    who walk in obedience to Him.
Psalm 128:1 (NIV)

Series: Games People Play

An open field lay across the street from the house I grew up in. Our family often took advantage of it to play different games all year long. Sleigh riding and snowball fights in the winter. Neighborhood kickball or softball games through the summer. And childhood field games during birthday celebrations.

One of the field games we would play was “Mother, May I?” Do you remember that game? One person was assigned as the “Mother,” and the remaining children lined across the field. Each child took turns, asking to move forward, closer to the Mother. From numbered baby steps to giant leaps, jumps, crab walks, and more, the kids creatively summoned the Mother.

Upon each request, the Mother responded—either permissive, providing an alternative, or altogether denying the request. The questioning child then had to obey the Mother’s instructions. If participants failed to preface their requests with, “Mother may I,” or if they made errors in their movements, they returned to the starting line and began again.

Have you ever asked God for permission to make a move? Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, instructs us to make our desires known to God. He wrote:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

When we want to do something, do we go to the Father to ask, “Father, may I….?” Do we consider what He may want to do in us and through us? Or do we plow on through with our plans and pursuits? 

If we have asked God if we may go somewhere, or say, do, or have something, the next question is: do we then wait for and obey His response? Just as the “Mother” in the game, God may allow our request, provide an alternate method, or deny our appeal. Jesus, in John 14:15-16 (NIV), taught:

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever.”

Later, in John 15:10 (NIV), during that same lesson, Jesus said:

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

Finally, in 2 John 1:6 (NIV), John wrote:

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Blessings, safety, comfort, and security come with obedience. As we obey the commandments of God, we abide in His perfect love. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 lists out several blessings for obedience, including health, provision, protection, and more. Jesus fulfilled the law, and we, as New Testament believers, are simply called to walk in love as Jesus loves us. 

What next move are you contemplating? Have you gone to the Father to make your request known to Him and to inquire of His permission? Will you wait for the Father’s response? Are you prepared to forget about the four giant steps you wanted to make and instead willing to army crawl three scoots forward?

Obedience can be tough. Our human nature is selfish and we want things our way. However, many times, when we do things our way, we end up with some issues and have to go back to the starting line to begin again.

The game of “Mother, May I?” is a good reminder not only for us to obey our parents, but also for us to obey God. Let’s seek to get closer to our Father by obediently walking in love together, four baby steps or two frog jumps or three crab walks at a time. None of our journeys will look the same, except that we all inquire, “Father, may I?”

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Psalm 128:1; Philippians 4:6; John 14:15-24, 15:9-17; 2 John 1:6; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Matthew 5:17-20


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