I keep forgetting one very important issue - obedience is not about immediate gratification or making life "fun" in the short run. This is true whether we are discussing a child obeying a parent, an employer obeying company policy, or a Jesus follower obeying the teachings found in Scripture. But obedience will always lead to greater joy down the road. We may not always acknowledge it as such but it is true nevertheless.
When a parent tells a child not to touch the pan on the stove, they are not trying to stifle the child's curiosity. They are trying to keep the child safe from harm. When my children were young, I was constantly having to tell one of my girls not to pull on the cord to my curling iron. Did she listen? Nope. And, yes, she pulled it off the sink one day. Thank God it wasn't on and she merely bonked herself in the forehead. It startled her and it hurt so she cried a bit. At her young age, she didn't understand how much worse it could have been but I did and I was grateful that it was only a bruise and not a burn! Interestingly enough, she never pulled on that cord again! She understood that pulling on that cord meant pain. Mom wasn't trying to ruin her fun, she was trying to keep her safe!
It's tougher to convince kids of the importance of obedience when dealing with concepts like honesty and self-control. But when a teacher makes a statement about the fact that he or she is trusting a certain student with a certain responsibility because that student can be trusted, the lesson starts to hit home a bit.
In case you haven't guessed, I'm at a place in my personal walk where I am having to choose whether or not to obey. What I'm being called to obey doesn't really matter. The truth is, I don't see "an immediate payoff" for obeying and I'm as prone to seeking instant gratification as the next person! But I'm certain that obedience will lead to peace in a particular area of my life not so much for me but for others. In all honesty, it may lead to some inner turmoil for me as I obey and wait to see if it bites me in the rear! But I'm not called to take the easy way out, seek my own comfort, or do what makes me the happiest. I'm called to obey. Just like my children may not like obeying an instruction I give them, I sometimes don't like what I am called to do. I would ask my children to trust that I have their best interest at heart in my instruction and I am POSITIVE that my Heavenly Father is all about building my intimacy with him. The wise woman would obey even when it gets tough. The choice is mine - will I obey even when it's hard or will I choose to cut my losses and do what's easy?