We tend to hear ‘obey the Lord…, thou shall not…, I command you to…’ in the Word for example, the 10 commandments (Exodus 20) moreover we see different acts of obedience through people’s lives, such as Abraham, Deborah and Jesus. Why is this the case? God requires us to do certain things that will benefit us either immediately or in the future, even when it may not always seem that way. For example we may not understand why we as Christians are called to be set apart and why we should not conform to the things of this world however, it has positive implications in the long run. In addition, there is power in our obedience to the Word and will of the Father.
Our obedience to God’s will and Word reflects:
1. Our love for God: although we may say that we love God, our love for Him is truly expressed through our obedience (outwardly). In John 14:21 ‘whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me…’ Jesus did not say, he who says that they love me instead it is he who follows His commands because the true evidence of one’s love for God is in their submission to His authority and His Word. We shouldn’t feel like we are being forced to obey God or do things for the sake of doing it (we are at risk of becoming religious if we do so) it’s an inward decision that we make in our heart to be obedient to Him.
2. Our trust in God: when we go on holiday, we are more likely to travel on a well known and credible aeroplane company than an unknown company that has had a bad history. We can use this example to reflect our trust in God, the reason why we have the Word and have examples of people like Abraham is in order for us to recognise that we can trust God because He has helped others in the past and He is faithful and trustworthy. Once we truly trust God with all our heart, we would find it less of a struggle obeying His commands because we know that we are in safe hands. One of my favourite verses in the bible is Proverbs 3:5-6: ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your path.’ When we take the focus off our own weaknesses, doubts and fears and magnify God in our lives, we will be able to trust in Him regardless of our understanding. In Jeremiah 29:11 it clearly states that God has plans for us, which are for good and not for evil. We should stand on that Word and believe that wherever He leads us it will not be for bad.
3. The level we have truly surrendered to the Father: the word surrender in Greek means ‘to deliver up the power or the will of someone’ in other words, we have handed our power into God’s hands. Meaning that whatever God’s plan is for you, you’re willing to obey and follow through with it. A good example of someone who fully surrendered to God was Jesus when He was on earth Philippians 2:8 ‘… He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’ Jesus suffered many things even to the point of death but He surrendered to the Father’s will and saved all humanity through His obedience. Sometimes it may feel like the things God wants us to do is challenging and truth be told they can be but when we obey Him, He will give us the strength to complete what He has required from us.
As well as examples of obedient individuals in the Bible, there are also examples of those that have disobeyed God’s commands.
1. Moses and Aaron: Numbers 20:2-12 at the time the Israelites were complaining to Moses and Aaron because there was no water. Therefore, Moses and Aaron decided to seek God and He instructed them on what they should do however, they did not exactly obey His instructions and this meant that they could not enter the promise land. God told Moses and Aaron to tell the rock to yield water, this would have Glorified God’s name however, Moses struck the rock with his staff. The lessons to be learnt here firstly, is that God’s will and purpose for your life is to Glorify His name, the instructions He gave Moses and Aaron was to exalt His name but they failed to do that. Secondly, although we go to God and believe that we are adding Him in our decision making eg. through prayer, if we do not obey His instructions it does not mean anything. Lastly, our disobedience has consequences the same way our obedience has consequences.
2. Saul: 1 Samuel 15 God had instructed Saul to kill all the Amalekites (men, women, children and even animals) however, Saul decided to preserve the good animals and spared the life of King Agag. He believed that he was truly doing the will of God but he wasn’t and this meant that he was rejected by the Lord to be king of Israel. Lessons to be learnt is that we shouldn’t presume that we are doing God’s will after He has told us otherwise. Also we shouldn’t allow pride (1 Samuel 15:12) blind us from the will of the Father. This goes back to truly surrendering to the authority of God through humility.
Results of our obedience:
1. Gives room for you to have better understanding: it is usually at the end of our act of obedience that we understand why God instructed us to to do/ not to do something.
2. Walk in your purpose: God is the one who has given us our purpose and whether or not you are aware of what He has called you to do you can trust that He will lead you in the right path which will lead you to your purpose (Psalm 37:23)
3. Strengthens your relationship with God: once God can trust that you will obey Him when He tells you to do something, He will begin to reveal more to you and you become more of a friend of God.
4. Answered prayers: when we pray for things sometimes we don’t realise that God answers our prayers through the things He asks us to do.
5. Reflect Christ: one of our aims on earth is to become like Christ, Jesus obeyed God whilst knowing that it would lead to His death but He trusted Him because He saw the bigger picture. The more we walk in obedience the less we focus on ourselves and the more we become like Christ.
6. God gets the Glory: we should seek to live a life that Glorifies the Lord, Jesus said that when we abide in His Word we glorify God, John 15:7-8
The truth is that sometimes we don’t trust God enough and surrender our entire lives and will to Him therefore, there are times where we are hesitant and doubt the things that we are instructed to do. However, let’s seek for God to help us in this area as it could be one of the things that can stop us for truly fulfilling our purpose on earth. I pray that this has blessed you in one way or another and I hope that you’ll express your love for God more through your obedience to His Word and will for your life.
God bless you