Trish Hahn believes we are being two-faced when we expect our children to obey what we say, while we ignore God

Do you feel exasperated when your spouse, children, teenagers don’t listen to you? It can be like talking to a brick wall. My youngest child likes to have selective hearing when it suits her, normally when she needs to get ready for school and much to my frustration.


When we listen to God’s word either in a sermon or during a quiet time, we need to not only hear God’s message but we also need to put it into practice. Obedience is key to God’s blessings in our lives, obedience to God’s word is how we were designed to be in a living relationship with God.

We are in danger of deluding ourselves if we think that parts of God’s word don’t apply to us but only to others. We cannot be hearers of His word and not doers of His word. If we do not do both then we are only deceiving ourselves, our listening needs to be accompanied by obedience to God and His word otherwise our true relationship with God is hampered only by ourselves.

As a new Christian in my 20s, there were times when I had gone to a church service, listened to the message preached and gone straight out the door and continued with my ungodly lifestyle, listening only with my ears but not letting God’s message speak directly to my heart. Part of it was my own spiritual immaturity and part of it was a need to grow up, to set aside my selfish attitudes and learn to put God first in my life instead of myself.

Our children and young people look closely at us, at the lives we lead daily and the examples we set when it comes to living out a Christian life.

Do we tell our children to “do as I say, not as I do?” What do they see in us? I would like to think that my children see me as a responsible mature adult, who leans on God daily and walks out God’s word in my life. Yet it is an ongoing lesson for all of us, as adults we learn that obedience to God and His word is always going to be a work in progress, we may struggle at times but perseverance is the key to an ever growing and fulfilling relationship with Him.

I am the youth pastor at my current home church and recently used a book written by Andrew McDonough called Webster the Preacher Duck. He cleverly uses the scripture from James 1:22 within the story to teach about the importance of obeying God’s message, not just listening to it. Our young people talked about what the story meant to each of them and how they could learn to obey God and develop the gifts God has given them. For them, the key to learning obedience is to watch and learn from the adults around them, that’s you and me.

Trish Hahn is Youth Pastor at her local United Reformed Church, and Regional Messy Church Co-ordinator for North East Essex from 2014 to current.