If hope is not based on performance, then why bother to obey, to attempt to excel? Why bother to obey if I cannot earn God’s favor?
I obey because I have been loved and been shown mercy. I obey because I want to see my Savior’s reputation enhanced on earth. I obey because it means participating in the only thing that truly matters, living for the glory of God.
Some might say, “well that is fine for me, but what about my children who have not yet professed faith?” Why should they obey? The answer is the same, because obedience that flows from a response to the mercy of God is the only form of obedience that is not in some way self-serving. Living for the glory of God is unnatural. It cannot be accomplished by human effort alone. Mercy-based obedience shows our dependence upon Christ. Loving your little brother when he is truly unlovable can only be done by seeing your own need of Christ first. Obedience that has the goal of living for God’s glory will make the cross a necessity.
Don’t settle for the world’s deceptive substitute, which says that obedience means you will be happy; that is merely self-serving. Obedience that is taught with the goal to bring honor to God will drive your children to Christ because it cannot be done in their own strength.
Don’t make obedience into something that is self-serving. Make obedience about living for God and his honor. This will allow your instruction to focus on hope rather than performance!
For more about this, see Instructing a Child’s Heart.