A soldier shared with me that in the army they are really hard on you when it comes to the matter of obedience. They will discipline anyone for walking on the grass when the sign says, “Keep off the grass.” I asked the young man why he thought they are that way, and he explained that when we are in a battle, his life and the lives of the others depend on obeying orders. So their training is not only about learning certain skills, but underlying it all is the discipline of obedience.
There is no area of life where obedience is not a necessary element, and the Christian life is no exception. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible has a lot to say about obedience. One can see just by reading the Ten Commandments how important the concept of obedience is to God. In Deuteronomy 11:26-28, it sums obedience in a few words, “Obey and you will be blessed. Disobey and you will be cursed.” We learn through the example of Jesus Christ that Christians are called to a life of obedience.
So what is obedience mean to God? According to Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary a definition of biblical obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.” So, in essence, biblical obedience means to simply hear, trust, submit and to surrender to God and obey His Word.
In Jesus we find the perfect model of obedience. As his disciples, we follow Christ’s example as well as his commands. Our motivation for obedience is love. In John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Our salvation is a free gift from God and we can do nothing to merit it. Our true obedience flows from a heart of gratitude for the grace we have received from Him.
Like a child, my Father, who gave me life, only asks for me to be obedient to Him. This shows Him love. I know that when I disobey I will be corrected for good. For this, I am thankful, because He has my heart in mind. I am thankful for the conscious mind that keeps me on track. It alerts me when I am off the road before I actually hit something and do permanent damage to my life or the life of someone else. It is the feeling that sends me to my knees. How thankful I am that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Sometimes when I miss the mark and I know I have not glorified God, I ask Him to forgive me, and then I say, “Lord, let’s try that again. Give me another go at it!”