Anyone who wants to know God—to walk closely with Him—must obey Him. Sounds like a strong statement, doesn’t it? But there is no way that we can come into a close relationship with the Lord, walk fully in THE BLESSING and enjoy the communion that our spirits desire without obeying Him.
If we will walk with Him, obey His Word, and follow the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit, then we will enjoy the close relationship that we desire and relish the benefits of that relationship. Here are five reasons why obedience will draw you closer to the Lord:
Reason No. 1: When you are obedient, you can walk with God.
No one can walk with God without being obedient. Just look at these three examples of people in the Old Testament who enjoyed walking closely with the Lord, and note how obedience played an important part in that relationship for each of them.
The Word records that “Enoch lived in close fellowship with God” for 300 years (Genesis 5:22)! Imagine spending 300 earthly years in close fellowship with the Lord—obeying His commands, learning His ways, and caring for the things that most concern Him. That was Enoch’s life. And the result? Scripture tells us that Enoch did not experience an earthly death. Instead, “he disappeared, because God took him” (verse 24).
Noah lived during a dark time. Scripture tells us that evil had grown to such an extent on the earth that “the Lord was sorry he had ever made [humanity]” (Genesis 6:6).
Then He said He would “wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing” (verse 7). It was a desolate time, but then the Lord looked and saw Noah. The Word notes that “Noah found favor with the Lord” (verse 8). Instead of conforming to the wickedness of the civilization around him, Noah upheld morality and goodness. The result of Noah’s obedience was that he and his entire family were saved from the flood that destroyed every other living thing on earth.
We all know about Adam’s failure, but consider his life before that detrimental mistake. He had walked in communion—daily relationship—with the Lord. God had breathed life into him (Genesis 2:7), set him in the magnificent Garden of Eden where all his needs were met (verse 15) and then gave him the privilege of naming all the animals (verse 19). That was the result of Adam’s obedience. He was set with a blessed life! In fact, his wife, Eve, was too. They only needed to continue to obey the Lord. Sadly, Adam followed the enemy’s voice instead and betrayed the trust that God had placed in him. That disobedience cost Adam big! He and Eve were thrown out of the Garden, forfeited THE BLESSING, and endured hardship the rest of their lives.
Reason No. 2: When you are obedient, you can obey God’s voice.
There are many good and kind people in the world who are without a relationship with the Lord and therefore cannot hear and follow His voice. As believers, we, on the other hand, have the ability to follow God and obey His voice. This is a privilege that belongs to His children. We can know His voice and nature through His Word, His Holy Spirit, and the wisdom He gives to other believers (i.e., pastors, ministers, mentors, prayer partners, godly friends, etc.).
Deuteronomy 4:5-6 says, “Look, I now teach you these decrees and regulations just as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy. Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations.”
When we follow God’s voice, we help others see His wisdom and hopefully draw them to Him, too.
Reason No. 3: When you are obedient, you will be blessed.
God promises that if we will obey Him, blessings will follow. Just look at these verses that show the connection between God’s BLESSING and obedience:
- Joshua 1:8: “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and
night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
- Isaiah 1:19: “If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat.”
- John 14:21: “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
While God loves and shows favor to all of His children, Scripture is clear that there is an inherent blessing that comes as a result of obedience.
Reason No. 4: When you are obedient, you’re choosing God’s best.
God’s love for us is clear from the sacrifice He arranged through Jesus Christ. And by the power of His Holy Spirit, He drew us to Him and adopted us into His family. We can’t lose His love. But God is not a tyrant. He does not force His will on us. He always gives us the choice of whether to follow Him or not. If we follow Him, then we receive the privilege of THE BLESSING (see Reason No. 3). If we choose not to follow Him—to walk in disobedience—then we walk outside of that BLESSING. It’s our choice, one He has given to all His children throughout history.
“‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken’” (Isaiah 1:18-20)!
We may choose to blatantly disobey the Lord by rebelling against Him and His Word. This is the case when we turn our backs on the Word, follow our own ways and knowingly sin. However, not all obedience is active; some is passive. Passive disobedience is much subtler. It may be allowing old ways of thinking (i.e., worldly carnal thinking or religious mindsets) to seep into our thinking instead of basing our thoughts on God’s Word. Disobedience can even include holding on to misinformation or remaining ignorant of the things of God.
“How can we be held accountable for things we don’t know?” you might ask.
We can be because He has already given us His manual for living—His Word. We have the responsibility to open that Word, read it, meditate on it and allow it to shape our thinking. That is what obedience allows us—and requires us—to do.
Reason No. 5: When you are obedient, you’re trusting God to be God.
Obeying God means moving aside and allowing God—His Word, His Holy Spirit and His way of operating—to move in our lives. It means trusting (having faith) that He will be true to His Word. When we obey, we don’t try to control our lives and the situations around us by our own human strength. Instead, we focus on the Lord by keeping Him and His Word before our eyes and allowing Him to have His way and trusting that He will fulfill His promises.
We cannot claim to love God without obeying Him and His Word. Let’s commit to obey Him with heartfelt love and show an appreciation for all He has done for us. We serve a big, magnificent, awe-inspiring God. Let’s obey Him immediately and wholeheartedly so we can walk with Him closely and enjoy the benefits of our obedience!