Obedience is no easy lifestyle. Whether it’s obedience to parents, workplace superiors, team leaders or the ultimate authority—God Himself!—there’s always a part of our spirit that will dig its heels in and defy. A lot of times it’s driven by the sinful nature in us—that angry slice of our being that insists we know better, can do better, that we should be in charge and calling all the shots because we’ve got the wherewithal to be the absolute masters of our own destinies.
The problem with this way of thinking is that we will rarely find an area in life where we have ultimate knowledge about anything. Never is this truer than as it pertains to God. We will never know more than Him, our wisdom about what we want and “need” cannot surpass His understanding about what is truly best for us. To insist on living in disobedience to Him because we think we know better is pridefully deceptive—to ourselves and to those who are looking to us to model upright, authentic, integral Christian living.
Jesus said we show our love for him (and by extension, for the Father) when we keep his commandments. Living by our own set of rules shows love for one person and one only: ourselves. We exemplify our dedication to self and our own comfort when we prioritize obedience to our own whims over obedience to God—even if obedience to Him causes discomfort.
Why does obedience cause discomfort, then, if He knows what’s best for us? If God’s commands are for our wellbeing, it shouldn’t hurt to follow them, right?
Oh, but it does! Because it chafes against that natural pride, that inherent self-seeking, the mentality that prizes one’s personal, often passive and temporal happiness over eternal joy and security promised by the Father.
Obedience is important because it places our trust and actions behind the One who sees what we can’t, the One who sees not just the momentary payoff but the full scope of what our actions bring about. To live in harmony with His commands will always bring about what is ultimately the best result, even if in the moment it makes us unpopular, uncomfortable, or unhappy.
And that, above all, is what makes obedience so worthwhile.