The Importance of Obedience

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   God doesn’t care how good and religious you look if you are not obeying Him today. Obedience is defined as being “submissive to the restraint or command of authority.” When I speak of obedience I’m speaking of placing yourself under God’s command and authority. Or to put it even “more simple” I’m speaking of doing what He tells you to do. We’re going to take a brief look at how important it is to be obedient to God in our Christian life. We’ll look at a negative and a positive example and what obedience may look like for us.

   Saul was the first king of Israel. He started out really well but then began to have an obedience problem. Once Saul was told by God to go and completely wipe out the Amalekites. (Sounds like a good mission for the US Army Rangers!) But Saul didn’t kill them all and saved some of the best things. He claimed one of the reasons for saving the animals was to sacrifice them to God. A good religious act right? Not after God had given the command to completely destroy them. That’s when God’s prophet Samuel said, “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” Saul’s disobedience showed that his heart wasn’t fully trusting and relying on God so God rejected him as king. Let us learn from Saul’s mistake. Now let’s take a look at a positive example of obedience.

   Theirs is not a better example of obedience than that of Jesus. He was given the hardest thing to do: live a sinless life on earth and die a terrible death by crucifixion. Philippians tell us, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross!” Jesus said, “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” When facing his death He prayed, “not what I will, but what you will.” Because of His obedience He will be crowned Lord of lords and King of kings. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. Let us follow Jesus’ example in obedience. But what might that obedience look like for us?

   First of all let’s go back and think of Saul. He thought he was doing a good thing because he was sacrificing to God, but that didn’t matter since he wasn’t obeying. In what way might we fall into the same trap? We may think we’re “good” because we’re going to church, singing in the choir, and doing all the “churchy” Christian things. But none of these things matter if we’re not doing what God is telling us to do. God leads us in different ways with the main way being in His Written Word. Are we being obedient to what The Bible tells us to do?  Are we even reading His Word to learn what He commands us to do? If not we’re just like Saul trying to offer a sacrifice when we simply need to obey. I know I am often guilty of worrying about what God would have me to do in certain life choices I have to make. However nine times out of ten our focus should be on what God has already written for us to do and then to have the faith He will guide in the other tenth. Perhaps our problem is that we’re not obedient to His written Word so how should we expect to receive any other direction from Him? The key is to be obedient in what we do know and God will handle the rest.

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   We’ve discussed a good example and a bad one. We’ve looked at what obedience means for us. So what’s left? We need to take a look at our own lives and see if to the best of our ability we’re being obedient to God. Our attitude should be as the Psalmist who said, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” And also that of Isaiah who said, “Here am I, send me.” Psalm 128:1 states, “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.” Be obedient. God will bless you.

That Other's May Live, 

Joseph Schalchlin