We are to obey God and do what Jesus teaches as He received from the Father. Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” I don’t understand that we can rightfully call Jesus ‘Lord’ or call ourselves Christians if we don’t do what He says. There seem to be several things which motivate people to do what He says. Let us look at these. Please forgive me if the reasons may be duplicative, overlap or I have overlooked what motivates you. I seek to encourage you to obey God.
The first reason you might obey God is out of fear for what He will do to you if you disobey Him. God will take vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel. 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.” Hebrews 10:31 “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” None of us want to be cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” You might obey God out of fear for the consequences of not obeying Him.
The next reason you might obey God is because you appreciate all that He has done for you and continues to do for you. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” He has given us salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” He has given us His Holy Spirit. Acts 5:32 “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” To mention a few more gifts, He gives us wisdom, peace, rest for our souls, an inheritance, the right to become His children, strength in our time of troubles, along with many physical blessings. Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” You might obey God for all that He has done for you.
The next reason you might obey God is because you love Him. John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Obeying His commandments demonstrates that you love Him. Why do you love Him? You love Him because He first loved you, as stated in 1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.” He has demonstrated His love for you in many ways. He gave his only Son so that you should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” You can see His great mercy, love and kindness for you. Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Because of His love for you, you love Him and obey Him.
The next reason you might obey God is because of His grace that He has demonstrated to you. Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” The grace that God has demonstrated to you teaches you to deny yourself and obey Him.
The next reason you might obey God is that you want eternal life. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are the sheep of our shepherd Jesus. Here is how He described it. John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” When you follow Him by obeying His commands, He gives you eternal life.
The next reason you might obey God is that you see that His ways are best. When God tells us not to do something, it is not because He wants to withhold something from us that is good for us. Like any loving father, He commands us to avoid certain things because they are bad for us with bad consequences. It is just like a father who might tell his child not to touch a hot stove so that the child will not get burned. When God commands us against sexual immorality, it is because sexual immorality is bad for us. I believe that a similar reason is behind other commands of God. When He commands us to love one another, it is because love is the best way to live. When you appreciate that God’s way is the best way to live, you want to obey Him.
Perhaps your reason for obeying God is a combination of these reasons. The Christian next to you will be motivated differently than you since we are not the same. I believe that the best reason to obey God is because you love Him. When you obey God, you have the right to the tree of life and may enter the eternal city. Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” I hope this encouragement causes you to evaluate why you obey God and encourages you to seek to be more pleasing to Him.