Raise your hand if you weren’t the best daughter--if you were the one who was always challenging your parent’s rules and questioning their authority. I was that child. I was the disobedient, rebellious teenager who thought she knew better.
Obedience to my parents was certainly not my strong suit. And when you’re young, every injustice seems blown out of proportion. My mom still likes teasing me about how I was absolutely certain my life was over just because I wasn’t allowed to go to a party.
Looking back, I was absolutely blessed to have parents who loved me and persistently looked out for me--even when I was stubborn, angry, and difficult. I pushed them away, but they were always there. They wanted what was best for me, but I was too young to have faith that they did.
Does Faith in God Mean You Should Obey His Commandments?
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15)
This statement is a simple yet powerful testament that God does not require obedience for fear of punishment, but as a token of our love for Him. We obey, not because we want heaven’s rewards, but because we love and trust Him. For this reason alone, we must cultivate a life of obedience.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
I say I love God. I pray and worship Him. But the ultimate expression of my love for Him is when I obey the laws and commandments He laid out for me, because I trust and believe in Him. Because I trust Him, I will follow Him. Not because I am afraid, but because I know that He has plans for me better than what I can even begin to imagine.
”I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The reward for obedience is the guarantee that everything will work out for His glory and for my good. He has laid out the way for me. He loves me, and He will guide me.
How Noah’s Obedience Expressed His Love for God
We all know the story of Noah (Genesis 6:9-7:11) and how he obeyed a seemingly unreasonable request from God to build an ark even though there was no lake or ocean in sight. If you were in Noah’s shoes, would you be brave enough to follow God’s command? Would you be able to obey without questioning God’s decision and authority?
When I started to read scriptures on obedience, I would often wonder about Noah and his ark. I remember even asking my Bible study group about him because it puzzled me how Noah could just follow God unquestioningly. As days turned to years, I started to understand that to obey shows your unyielding faith in God. Even when it seems irrational or impossible, we have to trust God’s plans for our lives.
Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”. In this case, Noah was a slave of righteousness. Noah trusted God’s plan and, without hesitation, proceeded to follow His command.
If you think about it, faith and obedience often go hand-in-hand. As John 14:23 states, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” It takes complete submission and humility to do this.
What Does the Bible Promise Those Who Obey God?
Faith, some may say, is simply blind obedience to God. But obedience, while costly, is an act of worship. God rewards obedience, and it is through our obedience that we prove our love for Him. As we grow in obedience, we grow in holiness. Whatever you are going through, remember that the more you surrender to God’s will, the more that you show that you trust that He will lead you to what’s best for you.
As Ephesians 6:5-6 writes, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Like Noah, we need to trust and believe that God will never lead us astray and always guide us toward the right path.
As a teenager, I never quite understood this. But now that I’m a mom to a beautiful 15-year old who slams her door when I don’t allow her to go out with her friends, I understand this completely.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, first published in 1952
Obedience to God, OpenBible.info
The Relationship Between Love and Obedience, GraceFairOaks.com