What does the Bible say about Obedience?
"If you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, and heartily obey all his commandments that I command you today, God, your God, will place you on high, high above all the nations of the world. All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God: God’s blessing inside the city, God’s blessing in the country; God’s blessing on your children, the crops of your land, the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds, the lambs of your flocks. God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl; God’s blessing in your coming in, God’s blessing in your going out." Deuteronomy 28:1-6 MSG
What does the Bible say about obedience?
1. Listen then Act
When I reflect on my life and all that God has already accomplished, I can't help but think about how little of a role I played in all of it. A lot of my biggest decisions, greatest accomplishments, and most insane leaps of faith start in my living room, with a cup of coffee, my Bible and a journal.
I still vividly remember the day I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to leave a job. I remember feeling led to research "Franklin, Tennessee" before I'd ever stepped foot in the state of Tennessee. We all have these moments we can look back on when we felt God prompting us to do something. There is a common thread in these moments:
It always starts with listening first.
The passage above starts with, "If you listen obediently..." because we need to listen before we can act. Revelation 1:3 says, "How blessed the hearers and keepers of these oracle words, all the words written in this book!"
Steven Furtick said, "great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience." I would add that those simple acts of obedience are usually preceded by faithful followers of Jesus who continually seek His heart and way for their lives.
Basically, great moves of God are preceded by simple acts of obedience made by people who are willing to listen to and act on what God says.
2. God doesn’t need your excuses, He needs your obedience
We often disqualify ourselves and make up excuses for God.
God chooses us, and when He does, we are quick to tell Him why He has the wrong person. How funny is it, that we think we can tell an all-knowing, all-powerful God, that He has chosen wrong?
He chose you!
The reason is often beyond our understanding. While we are busy telling ourselves and others why we probably aren’t the “right” person, God sees beyond our excuses. God often chooses people who are an unexpected choice because that’s where His glory is the most prevalent.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, "God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart." Moses told God He wasn’t a good speaker, he couldn’t be meant to lead. Joseph was abandoned, despised by his brothers, and in prison, how was he going to be in a position of power?
Mary was a virgin and unmarried, but she was about to birth the king of kings. David was the youngest and overlooked, but God called him to be a king. Esther was a woman and an orphan, but God chose her to save her people. And one of my personal favorites—Timothy was really, really young. But God chose him to lead His people and help establish His church. All of them, like us, had their reasons and their excuses. They all had their lists of insecurities and ideas about why they weren’t the person to do the work God had called them to.
God doesn't need our excuses. He wants our obedience.
3. Your Responsibility is Obedience, not an Outcome
With all of our excuses, it can feel like we are being asked to do something simply impossible. Revival in our nation, reconciliation in our relationships, hope in our world, careers beyond what we have the skills, experience or knowledge for all feel so far out of reach.
I think the reason for this is because we start to worry about the outcome. But the outcome was never our responsibility. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, "The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it."
This verse is so simple and yet so profound. We are responsible to listen to His call, to obey what we hear, and He is the one who is faithful. He is the one who will handle the outcome.
I think this is the whole point.
What if God chose you not because you can do it, but because He can?
He doesn't need any special skills, abilities, gifts, talents, age, education, or any other requirement we have projected onto the calling He has given us.
He just needs a willing and obedient follower of His voice.
2 Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
He's looking someone who is willing to show up and trust in His power and His strength. I hope when He's searching He finds us, eager to sit and listen to what He has to reveal to us, willing to walk into the unknown even if we feel unequipped, taking responsibility for our obedience and entrusting Him with the outcome.