What Does the Bible Say about Obedience and Disobedience?
Obedience is the practical acceptance of the authority and will of God. It includes both submitting to Him and then expressing that submission in actions, words and thoughts. To be obedient is to be in agreement with God. To be in agreement with God is to be in a position of power in Christ.
Disobedience is caused by rebellion and distrust of God. To be disobedient is to yield to self-will instead of surrendering to God and desiring His will in all things.
God expects obedience (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).
To choose Christ is to choose obedience (John 14:15,21).
To become disobedient is to sin or rebel against God (I Samuel 15:22,23).
What Scripture Says
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse — the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).
“But Samuel replied: Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king” (I Samuel 15:22-23).
“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land” (Isaiah 1:19).
“If you love me, you will obey what I command….Whoever has my commands, and obeys them he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:15, John 14:21).
“Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
How To Correct The Sin of Disobedience
The following suggestions should help you discover areas of either deliberate or subconscious disobedience to God and to those in authority over you. Begin by asking yourself whether you are obeying God in different areas of your life, such as personal relationships, your behavior, God’s lordship in your marriage or job or other areas, personal devotions, etc. Take an honest inventory of your life.
Thank God for areas of disobedience you may discover. Once identified, they can be removed. This will result in new joy and greater faith. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Confess the disobedience as sin. Ask God for forgiveness and claim His promise of complete pardon. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). If your act of disobedience involves others who are in authority over you, you must rectify the situation with them. The Bible teaches that we can and should live at peace with ourselves and others. Disobedience to God and those in authority over you can block the joy, blessings and inner peace which God desires for you.
Use your will to relinquish each specific act of disobedience. Denounce even the desire to be disobedient. As Paul did, compel your flesh and its soulishness to obey. The Bible says that as a Christian, you have mighty weapons of warfare which will break down walls of disobedience. Rely on the faith of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Plan specific actions. Ask forgiveness of others, make amends where needed. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23). As each of these qualities develops in you, you will find not only the sin of disobedience fading, but other sins as well.
As You Pray
Pray that the fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness to God and other people, be produced within you.
Thank and praise God for revealing your disobedience to you and for giving you meekness (submissiveness) and love for Him and others — even your enemies. Rejoice in your new freedom and joy in the Lord as you realize that you are free from bondage of disobedience.
I John 5:2,3 — Test of obedience and love
Colossians 3 — Admonition to emulate Jesus
Psalm 51 — David’s example of new obedience to God
Take a piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the center. To the left of the line list the areas in which you have been disobedient. To the right of the line list the alternatives of obedience. Begin to act on the alternatives, forming new life patterns.
Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard translation of the Bible.
June 25, 2021
May 21, 2015