Bible Verses About Obedience
In our modern culture centered on immediate gratification and service at the altar of one’s own self, “obedience” sounds like a dirty word. It may conjure up images of slaving away at the will of others. That’s to be expected from a person of the world, but even many of us believers struggle with obedience to God’s will. I have undoubtedly grappled in my own life to submit to His instructions as given to us in the Bible. So if you’ve ever struggled with obeying God’s Word (and don’t say that you don’t, cause no one believes that lie) here are a handful of reminders about why obedience is essential to a life of faith.
- “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17) The concerns of this life—wealth, career, status etc.—mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Our concern should be on that which is eternal: our very souls. A believer hoping to carry out a sincere life of faith shouldn’t live for the things of this world. Suppose you turned out to be the most accomplished, wealthiest person in history: how long could you realistically enjoy that success in this lifetime? 80 years? 90 if you’re lucky? Can that really compare to eternal life in the presence of God—or conversely, eternal separation from God? If we truly have faith in God and His Word, let’s leave the temporary things of the world in the rearview and focus on that which is eternally productive: obeying His will.
- “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:26-27) If a believer makes that which is temporary and pointless the foundation of their life, it would make as much sense as building your home—the very place where you seek shelter and safety—on a foundation of sand. You’re begging for disaster with that kind of groundwork. What’s interesting about this passage is that Jesus doesn’t describe the foolish as the unbelievers of the world. In fact, this parable is actually describing two different types of believers. Those who are foolish also hear the words of Jesus just like the wise do in verses 24-25; unlike the wise believers, however, the foolish fail to act on these instructions, thus placing themselves on the path to spiritual destruction. Let us always strive to do what’s wise and correct in the eyes of the Lord.
- “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) Self-deception is an incredibly powerful force. Oftentimes, we’re misled not by others but by our own faulty perceptions instead. Human beings have the incredibly dangerous capacity to rationalize our way into or out of just about anything using the most inane “logic”. That’s because our standards of right and wrong hold no weight next to God’s standards(Isaiah 55:8-9). “Protecting” ourselves from self-deception using the criteria we invented is as logical as trying to run a marathon after breaking your own kneecaps. Good luck getting anywhere that way.Let us instead follow God’s standards that He gave us in His Word, so that we may avoid falling into patterns that sabotage our faith.
- Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23) You may have heard the phrase “Love is a verb, not a noun”. How fitting an expression! Words are hollow if they aren’t followed up with deeds. We don’t show our love for Jesus by showing up to church every week and declaring, “I love Jesus!!” while raising our hands and swaying back and forth during praise and worship. Nor can we demonstrate love for Christ by carrying out our own will. Even Jesus had to submit himself to the will of the Father (Luke 22:42). If we refuse to obey the teachings found in the Word, wouldn’t that be like pretending we are above him?
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) Well folks, there you have it: the big kahuna, the 10,000-megaton bomb. No matter how well we think we’re doing in our life of faith, the only hope for salvation is carrying out the will of God. Even those who’ve performed miracles and healed others in the name of Jesus will be rejected if they do not carry out God’s will. If nothing else convinces you to obey His will, let this be it. The message that Jesus delivered to us is simple: even righteous acts performed in his name mean nothing if we’re not carrying out the will of the Father. Believers should find this absolutely terrifying. Another point of concern: how can we truly know if we’re doing the will of the Father without even knowing what His will is? 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”. This, of course, requires us to spend time in His Word.
John 1:1-4 also tells us that God, His Word and eternal life are one and the same. If we truly wish to have heaven and eternal life, we cannot neglect the Word or know it merely in bits and pieces: that would be like committing the sin of adding and subtracting to the Word (Deuteronomy 4:2).
Below are other Bible verses regarding obedience:
- And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. – Deuteronomy 28:1, ESV
- You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess. – Deuteronomy 5:33, ESV
- Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray. – Proverbs 10:17, ESV
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2, ESV
- And keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. – 1 Kings 2:3, ESV
- This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. – Joshua 1:8, ESV
- If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. – Malachi 2:2, ESV
- And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23, ESV
- And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. – Luke 10:27, ESV
- I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – Romans 12:1, ESV
- For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. – Romans 8:15, ESV
- Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV
- For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. – Romans 5:19, ESV
- For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10, ESV
- I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God. – Ezekiel 20:19-20, ESV
- My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. – Proverbs 4:20-21, ESV
- Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine. – Exodus 19:5
- For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. – 1 Peter 2:21, ESV
- You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. – Matthew 5:13, ESV
- For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. – 1 Timothy 4:8, ESV