The dictionary defines obeying as submitting to the authority of someone or complying with a law.
When we say we are obedient to God, we are submitted to His authority and we do what His Word has instructed us.
Obedience is better than sacrifice.
In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices and burnt offerings to worship Him. With time, they began to exalt the place of sacrificing to the Lord rather than obedience. In this verse, King Saul had opted to do what he thought was right rather than do what God had commanded.
In the new covenant, we aren’t required to bring animal sacrifices to the Lord for our worship. But we sacrifice our gifts, our treasure, and our time for the service and worship of God. We are often tempted to exalt our sacrifice and service to God above heeding His voice and obeying His instructions.
Obedience is often costly. Because it’s costly, it’s easy to want to do other things for God instead of honoring His Word and doing what He requires of us.
God doesn’t want our sacrifices if it negates our obeying His voice. He wants our sacrifice to be coupled with obedience.
Obedience requires humility.
Our problem with refusing to do what God has commanded us is rooted in pride and man’s refusal to allow God to lead him. Obedience requires submission, submission requires humility.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
He was equal with God, but humbled himself and was obedient to God to the point of dying on a cross. We are told to have the same mind as him, have the same humility and submission to God, and do everything He asks us to do.
We learn obedience in suffering.
Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what He suffered. Hebrews 5:8
Jesus wasn’t exempted from learning to obey the father. We are told he learned how to obey through suffering. Obeying God will cause us to suffer because our flesh doesn’t want to obey. It will cause us to suffer because it will require our denying ourselves, and it is in these things that we learn what it means to obey God.
We cease from sin through suffering.
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. 1 Peter 4:1
Obedience will cause us to suffer in the flesh. Following God will cause suffering but it is the only way we can become fully obedient. When we suffer in the flesh, we are finished with sin.
We know God through obedience.
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 1 John 2:4
We can’t say we know God and do contrary to His word. By our obedience, we reveal we have actually come to know Him.
We prove our love through our obedience.
If you love me keep my commands. John 14:15
In fact, this love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
Obedience is love; it is God’s love language. We say we love Him not by our songs, not by our prayers but by our doing what He has commanded us to do.
His commands are not burdensome because we have help. God gives us grace and enables us to do what He has asked us to do. When we say we can’t obey God, we are saying we will not receive His grace in order to do what He instructs us.
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my father and I will love him and reveal myself to him. John 14:21
There is a promise if we keep His commands, we will be loved by the father and Jesus and He will reveal himself to us. God will not reveal Himself to a person who will not obey Him. Because He is giving Himself to us, we honor that by our obedience.
We remain in God’s love through obedience.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. John 15:10
Disobedience will remove us from His love. If we want to stay in His love and abide in Him we have to be constantly walking in obedience.
We love others through our obedience.
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:5-6
God gives us the most difficult thing to do in our obedience, obeying His command to love others and walk in love. It is not easy to love people. People can be difficult and hard to love, but when we love others we are fulfilling God’s command.
Obedience is how we love God, and it’s how we love others!