Obedience is to follow the commands or guidance of someone. When you think of obedience, you likely think of children obeying their parents. As a child begins to grow and develop, he doesn’t have the wisdom to see the dangers that must be avoided or to see the right things to be done. He needs his parents to give him commands and guidance. God wants children to obey their parents. Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” Or maybe you think of a slave that must do what his master tells him to do or he will suffer severe consequences. Or maybe you think of obeying the laws of the land such as the traffic laws; one who doesn’t obey the laws may be arrested and penalized. But do you think of Jesus obeying God the Father? Speaking of Jesus in Hebrews 5:7-9 “Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
Jesus had obviously been commanded by the Father to come to this earth and give His life for the sins of the whole world. When the time came to complete the obedience of what he was commanded, Jesus did not want to go through with it. He prayed earnestly in the garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:39 “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Luke 22:44 “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” I believe that Jesus saw in front of Him the physical torment He would suffer as well as having to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world. He didn’t want to go through with what was before Him. And yet, He did. He obeyed His Father. He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. As a result, now He has been glorified. Revelation 5:11-12 “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’”
Jesus gave us the greatest example of obedience to God the Father. Just as Jesus obeyed, you and I must obey even when we would rather do otherwise. Abraham obeyed God even when he didn’t know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” We may not fully understand or appreciate the commands and guidance we have from God. But we must walk in faith and obey God as Abraham did.
We know that loving God is the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-30). Obeying God and keeping His commandments shows our love for Him. 1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” Jesus said in John 15:9-10 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Continually obeying God leads to righteousness. Romans 6:16-18 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
Disobedience to God results in everlasting destruction. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 “And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” Romans 2:6-9 “Who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.”
As Christians, I think we all want to obey God and receive His promises. True obedience requires humility and submission. James 4:6-7 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” If you are self-willed and proud, you will do what you want to do. But if you are humble and submit to God in obedience, he gives you His Grace. My encouragement to you is to obey God in all things. Be like Jesus who said to God “not as I will, but as You will.”