Obedience (Deuteronomy 13: 4; 1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 19:16; Acts 5:29; John 14:14; 15:14; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 13:17) is submitting to what God requires of us. This character motivates us to keep seeking our Lord and cleaving to Him, regardless of the circumstances, so we will be able to keep His precepts and be loyal to His call. It is also recognizing authority and direction from others, such as the pastor and church, so winning situations can result.
Disobedience, Defiance, and Rebellion are the opposites. With these attitudes, we will flee from God's love and precepts, ignore His call, and just do our own thing. We will have no fear of God; we will do as we please, thus placing us on a path of chaos, strife, and destruction. We will have no desire to serve Him or do the right thing outside of obligation. We will miss out on true intimacy, destroy relationships, hinder growth in ourselves and others, miss out on maturity, and on the wonder of His plan.
Obedience is pure loyalty to our Lord. It helps us focus on Him and what He has done for us. We will see our sinful nature and how He has rescued us from our self destruction, so we will know where we came from and have no desire to go back, and so we will stick with Him even in times of dire suffering. It means not being ashamed of the Gospel, as Paul proclaimed in Romans 1:16, so that your devotion becomes contagious to those around you. Obedience is not something we dread, or feel we have to do, nor is it bondage in a negative sense. It is the joy of knowing our Lord and staying with Him so as to partake in His love and grow in Him further, deeper, and stronger. The result is that we become more mature, become of more use to His glory, and become willing to express His love with eagerness to others.
Obedience is also the willingness to cooperate with God, and with others in their godly directions and plans. It is working together to further the Kingdom as a community, shining with the glory of our Lord together. We may sacrifice our will and pride, for these things result in separation and strife. Whereas, when we work tighter together, we bring and build community and relationships.
Obedience is not Willfulness, or having a strong willed mindset, rather it is our lining up with His precepts and call. It is the self-surrender of our will so we become less in our spirit and more in His Spirit. Even in the OT, God was more concerned with people's trust and obedience than their offerings and sacrifices. God delights in our obedience. He does not demand it, nor is it required for our salvation. It is something we do because, as the hymn goes, there is no other way!
To see this character further, sing and meditate on the hymn, Trust and Obey!
Is the Character of Obedience working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Obedience from God's most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Obedience in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better willingness to be instructed by God and godly people?
- What blocks Obedience from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Obedience function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
·Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Chron. 17:1-6; Acts 8:26-40; Phil. 2:1-11; James 1:22-25)
·Here are negative examples from Scripture (Josh. 7: 16-21; 1 Sam. 15:17-23; Jonah 1:1-3; Matt. 15:1-9; Heb. 3:7-19)
- How would you define Obedience? Do your friends and family see you making sacrifices to obey God?
- When would there be an occasion to be rebellious? Are you afraid of obeying God? If so, why?
- How does Defiance counteract Obedience? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a rebellious person?
- What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are disobedient?
- When have you been filled with Obedience the most?
- In what situation did you fail to be cooperative when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Obedience? Are you willing to be a cooperative person? Do you know when it is Biblically necessary not to be?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Obedience into action in a specific instance. Read Romans 13:1-2. Ask yourself, how can I accept the word, "no" from those in authority (when it does not violate God's precepts) without appeals, discussions, complaining, gossip and such? Read Colossians 3:23: Instead of jumping to no, I cannot, rather, seek how can I, with God and others?