Joy in Obedience: Looking at Obedience in the Bible


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Nag, nag, nag – that’s all your parents seem to do. They don’t ever let you do what you want to do, nor do they let you approach things the way you think best. Same goes with your teachers, coach and even your church – everyone seems to be convinced that you need to follow their instructions. 

Our parents, teachers, church, etc. don’t pester us for fun or for their benefit; their persistent grumblings most likely come because we’re probably not doing what’s been asked of us. It’s easy to become annoyed by the badgering. But, when we don’t follow their directions, listen or do what we’re told, their hounding becomes even more unbearable. We’re supposed to spend this time of our life developing our character, so we’re prepared for gaining our independence. But we have to learn to obey and follow directions before we deserve that freedom. No matter our age, people will give us directions and expect us to follow through. Being able to carry out instruction demonstrates our ability to be self-ruling and reliable.  

How Joy and Obedience in the Bible Are Connected

Even though it’s easy to become annoyed by always having to do what’s expected of us, obedience actually brings joy. When we obey others, they’ll stop troubling us. Then we will no longer be frustrated or stressed by their perpetual irritation. We’re also showing respect to others when we listen and follow instructions. This provides an opportunity for us to gain trust. As trust is established, we’re demonstrating that we can handle more substantial tasks to accomplish. Obedience makes us more accountable and trustworthy. Obedience allows us to be a greater influence in the world. What could bring more joy than knowing you play a role in the progress of the world.  

What God Says about Joy and Obedience in the Bible

Joy from obedience comes from the freedom we gain, strengthened relationships and our impact on the world. These are pretty notable benefits, but God also says that our obedience will bring us joy through knowing His will in our life. If we know God’s intentions, we won’t waver or run off course. 

When we follow God’s path for our lives, we become fulfilled by knowing our greatest identity. Obeying the Lord shows us what we’re capable of and it pushes us to move beyond the limits we place on ourselves. In a world that belittles young people, and doesn’t accept the power of Jesus, it’s pretty incredible to see Him move through and in us. Obeying the Lord helps us to focus on something larger than our own ideas of what’s valuable and important. There’s joy in pursuing something bigger than what we’re capable of doing on our own. 

When We Find Joy in Obedience

Following God can be more difficult than obeying our parents, but God says that our path will be straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways follow Him, and He will make your paths straight.” When we obey God, He’ll be on our side. When we don’t obey, we experience tribulation. Romans 6:16 says that when we don’t abide by the Lord, we become a slave to Satan, evil and sin. If we don’t obey the Lord’s leading, then we’re following the guidance of His enemy. But, when we obey the Lord, we lead a virtuous, honorable and upstanding life. “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?”

The greatest joy we receive from obeying the Lord is experiencing eternal life with Him in paradise! John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” The Lord desires for us to experience His greatest joy. He wants us to obey Him so He can guide and protect us as we journey through life. He wants us to follow Him so we can live with Him forever!

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