You may have a dog and tried to teach it to obey. As you went over and over the action you wanted your dog to do, you probably found that your dog loved you more and more. Does God expect us to be as obedient as we want our dog to be? Who should we obey?
Why do I have to obey? The Bible says, “Look, today I have set before you life and death, depending on whether you obey or disobey. I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to follow his paths and to keep his laws, so that you will live and become a great nation, and so that the LORD your God will bless you” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 16, TLB). God knows that obedience is the only way we can be truly happy. Everything He asks us to do is for our own best good.
Is there more to obedience than just rules? Yes! Jesus says, “If you love me, obey me” (John 14:15, TLB). We shouldn’t obey because we are afraid of God or because we don’t want to be punished. The real reason we obey is because we love God and want to please Him.
How do I obey? The Bible says, “This is the new agreement I will make with the people of Israel, says the Lord: I will write my laws in their minds so that they will know what I want them to do without my even telling them, and these laws will be in their hearts so that they will want to obey them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10, 11, TLB). God knows that we are weak and that we can’t obey on our own. So He has promised to help us. Whenever we are tempted to disobey and do something wrong, we can ask God to help us—and He will! The more we obey, the easier it will become and the more we will want to obey. God’s law will be written in our hearts. “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants” (Philippians 2:13, TLB).
Still, I find myself disobeying a lot. What can I do? Here is a special promise from the Bible: “If we confess our sins, he [Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV). God will always forgive us—if we ask sincerely.
What if I obey most of God’s commandments, but disobey in some little things? The Bible says, “If anyone breaks the least commandment, and teaches others to, he shall be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But those who teach God’s laws and obey them shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:19, TLB). God recognizes that some sins are greater than others. But all sins matter! We need to obey in “little” things as well as in “bigger” things.
Did Jesus ever disobey? The Bible says, “Jesus the Son of God is our great High Priest . . . . This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, since He had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned” (Hebrews 4:14, 15, TLB). Jesus, our example, never gave in to temptation or disobedience.
What does the Bible say about kids obeying their parents? It’s one of the Ten Commandments. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1, NIV). When kids learn to obey their parents, they are learning to obey God as well. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20, NIV). God is pleased with our obedience.
What if my parents, or someone else in authority, want me to do something that would be disobeying God? The Bible says, “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29, NIV). We must always place obedience to God above obedience to anyone—or anything—else.