Obedience is one of the most important words in the Christian life. Without it, Christians don’t experience the full joy of Christ. Sadly, many miss out. They settle for a faith that involves a whole lot of hearing without much doing. James admonished believers, saying, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Without follow through, Christians short-circuit the life of God. Though they talk a good talk, they don’t walk the real walk. One Christian author has said, “Obedience is the mark of true discipleship. Obedient disciples are not those who give verbal assent only, but actually obey what the Father commands.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commands” (John 14:15). Without a doubt, obedience is critical to true discipleship. I’ve discovered, however, that many need to be motivated in this matter. Consider four blessings of obedience.
God blesses you.
When the Israelites considered entering Canaan, the Lord said, “Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that you may prosper and so that you may enter and possess the good land the Lord your God swore to give your fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:18). Though the Lord’s words were specific regarding Israel’s inheritance in the Promised Land, they contain a principle for believers of all generations — God blesses obedience. If you want to experience the abundant life of Christ (John 10:10), be serious about doing what He wants you to do.
God makes you righteous.
Obedience also cultivates the life of God within us. When he handed down God’s Law to God’s people, Moses said, “Righteousness will be ours if we are careful to follow every one of these commands before the Lord our God” (Deuteronomy 6:25). Within the Bible, we have a blueprint for Godly living. Faith-filled obedience will help us follow God’s plan and construct lives which reveal the character of Christ.
God makes you wise.
When we do what God says, we open our lives to His wisdom. Stubbornly pursuing our own path blocks us from receiving His truth. The Psalmist said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, all who follow his instructions have good insight” (Psalm 111:10). If you want light and insight for life, submit yourself to God’s Word.
God makes you into a witness.
God’s glory can only be seen through lives which reflect His grace. If you don’t follow in His footsteps, others won’t see Jesus in you. Concerning the teachings of the Torah, Moses told the Israelites, “Carefully follow them, for this will show your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples” (Deuteronomy 4:6). If you want to be a witness, first focus on your own walk. If you are careful to obey God’s Word, you will have a good testimony to go along with your gospel appeals.
Dr. Patrick Latham