Why Our Obedience Is So Important to God

It is funny just how much becoming a parent teaches us about following Jesus. The moment a child is born, parents are filled with an overwhelming, unexplainable love for their newborn child. Suddenly we catch a glimpse of how God feels about his children. As parents, we experience what it is like for a child to fully trust without questioning. We experience the childlike faith that Jesus made famous in the New Testament. We understand heartbreak when a child chooses to disobey for the first time. Likewise we learn to cherish the obedience of our children.

The Parent-child Relationship

As we continue down the path towards understanding the full life God has called us to live, we see little reminders about the importance of our obedience to God woven all throughout scripture. With all of the mentions of obedience in scripture, it begs the question, why is our obedience so important to God? Regardless of whether you are a parent, there is so much to learn by looking at obedience through the lens of the relationship between a parent and a child. As we continue to explore obedience, it is helpful to utilize this relationship to help us better understand God’s desire for obedience from his children.

Sometimes there are topics which need further detailed explanation. There are other times, I find it best to say the least amount possible and allow scripture the space to get the point across. Below you will find a mixture of both which I pray is helpful in shining light on why obedience is so important to God.

(Dis)obedience Got Us Here

As a parent, there is nothing that gets my blood boiling quicker than when someone or something tries to hurt my kids. You may not be a parent, but have you ever offended a parent, mom or dad, by doing something which they saw as a threat to their child? The common term in western culture for their reaction to this is “ going momma bear” or “going papa bear.” Let me tell you, this is something you never want to be on the receiving end of. So when I think of something like disobedience getting in the way of what God wants for his children, I envision God “going papa bear.”

God truly loves His children and longs for us to be in close relationship with Him. So when anything… and I mean anything threatens this relationship, I believe God becomes the ultimate “papa bear.” Let us take a look at Ephesians 2:1-3 says about our past and disobedience.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

Ephesians 2:1-3

Ephesians reveals to us that we all started out dead because of our disobedience. What is great is that Ephesians does not stop there. In verses 4-7 it shows us just how much God loves us.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7

Learning to Choose Obedience

Oftentimes when God calls us to obedience we do not have the whole picture and much of what God is calling us to do does not make sense. In the moment, it is really difficult to step towards God in obedience. Everything in our logical brain tells us just how crazy this is. What God often calls us to is terrifying. If we are new to this whole following Jesus thing, it is incredibly easy just to follow the logical route. If you are like me, you were taught growing up to make “smart” decisions. You might catch yourself asking, “what is the wise thing to do in this situation?” Now the logical is not always the wise thing to do, but convention teaches us to go with the logical because it makes sense.

Ditching What’s Logical

So often God’s call towards obedience requires us to ditch what is wise or logical in the world’s eyes and follow Him in faith. Well-meaning, seasoned followers of Jesus will whisper clichés like, “walk by faith, not by sight.” Or “when God closes a door, He opens a window.” Sometimes it seems like these well-meaning believers gossip with other believers that the new believer, which in this can is you, is struggling with obedience. Then every time you turn around it seems like someone in church or your small group is wanting to give you advice which is full of weird sayings which make little sense. You walk away from these conversations more confused than before they started.

Obedience Is An Outward Display of Our Love

So what makes obedience so important to God?

Many times I learn more by asking God questions prior to spending time reading God’s Word than any other method. What I have discovered is that if I will go to God in prayer and voice my concerns, He will lead me to the answers. Sometimes God’s answer is not the answer I was seeking which will in turn, lead me to ask more questions. You see I thought I understood why obedience was important to God, I really did. I thought I already had the answer, until I actually asked God the question, “God, why is my obedience so important to you?”

If you love me, you will obey my commandments.

‭‭JOHN‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭NET

When God lead me to John 14:15, I thought to myself after reading it, “of course God, duh!”

If we parallel our experience with God with that of a child obeying a parent, we gain a much richer view of the relationship between God and man.
While the correlations of the two relationships are not completely identical, there is so much we can glean from the parent-child relationship. Children often lack a mature understanding which their parent(s) can lend to their situation to aid in the decision-making process. Just as a child must ultimately choose to trust the goodness and love their parent has for them, we too must choose to trust God.

What we need to understand is that our act of obedience is signaling to God our love, our trust and our loyalty to Him. We do not need the whole picture to act, we only need to trust in God’s goodness and believe in his plan.

God Is a God of Blessings

One concept which is found throughout the Bible which believers seem to so easily forget is the idea that God longs to bless his children. Just as most parents want to bless their children, God likewise wants to bless his children.

You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:11-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When I am struggling, it is so easy for me to fall back to the line of thinking that God is some distant, impersonal God who has no connection to his children. When I am hurting, it is so natural to think that God does not care about the intricacies of our lives. When our culture commonly refers to God as “the man upstairs” it is easy to see how we slip into this line of thinking.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

Romans 8:31-32

Blessings Often Follow Obedience

This idea is so easy to believe looking back, but terribly hard to comprehend looking forward. When I am staring down the decision of obeying God’s direction, I cannot think of one time where I thought to myself, “I wonder how God is going to bless me here?” I just do not think this way. I tend to focus on what will happen if I do what God is calling me toward. Or even better, I focus on all of the ways this scares me. So I get caught up in all of the what-if situations, playing them out in my brain.

Now I am not inferring that anyone should go into a decision to follow God asking what they will get out of it. I simply want to point to what scripture says about blessings. I want to remind you of God’s goodness and how God longs to bless his children.

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. “The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven! “The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

Deuteronomy 28:1-8

If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One Act of Obedience Changed the World

If all of the reasons I have described for obedience is not reason enough to choose obedience, maybe this thought will inspire you to choose obedience. As we look upon the story of Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, it all came down to one act of disobedience. This one act of disobedience by Adam and Eve changed the world forever. Likewise, one act of obedience by Jesus Christ going and dying on the cross, brought all who choose to believe in Jesus back into a right relationship with God the Father.

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:18-19

Our obedience might not save all of humanity, but what I hope to show you is that your obedience has great impact. Not only on you, but on those around you. If we seek to cultivate obedience to God in the longterm, we must solidify our trust in his goodness and be ready to remind ourselves as to why we trust God when times are tough.

Other Inspirational Verses:

You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:11-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:10-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you will bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord will bless you and watch over you. The Lord will smile on you and be kind to you. The Lord will look on you with favor and give you peace.’ “So whenever they use my name to bless the Israelites, I will bless them.”

Numbers 6:22-27

©2021 Craig Booker. All rights reserved.