“Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice” – 1 Samuel 15:22
Obeying God is the key to having a productive and lasting relationship with Jesus. “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love.” Jesus is telling us that His love for us is the same as His Father’s love for Him and that just as He obeyed God out of love, we should also obey Jesus out of love. When we obey Jesus we remain in His love, we remain connected with Him because we are living by His guidelines.
The definition of a commandment is: A rule or teaching that people should obey. God gave us commandments to help us to live good, productive lives. They are designed to keep us from sinning and from hurting each other. Jesus’ commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and being and to love our neighbour as we would love ourselves. Jesus loved God and obeyed His commandments and glorified Him. When we live as Jesus instructed us to live, we are glorifying Him.
It is not enough to declare our love for the Lord, we have to show Him and we only do this by obeying His commands. Obedience is another form of love. It is a willingness to do whatever we are asked to do for the One we love. We know God loves us because He has expressed it in words and in deeds. Jesus willingly gave up His life for us so we should willingly give ourselves to Him. We can never repay Him for all He has done for us but we can try.
Abraham loved God enough to obey Him when He asked him to pack up his family and belongings and move to a new place. He obeyed God’s command when He asked Him to sacrifice Isaac. Noah obeyed God when he was told to build the Ark. Gideon obeyed God when He told him to take fewer men in battle against the Midianites. Peter obeyed Jesus and went to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. These men remained in God’s love.
When we disobey God, we are rebelling against Him. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and as a result sin and death entered the world. Saul rebelled against God by offering up sacrifice at Gilgal instead of waiting for Samuel. As a result, his kingdom was taken away from him and given to David. The Israelites rebelled against God when they were in the desert on the way to the Promised Land by worshipping a golden calf. They rebelled against God when they worshipped other gods and built altars and offered sacrifices. They turned their backs on the same God who led them out of Egypt and provided them with food and water while they were in the desert. The same God who delivered them from their enemies and saved them every time they cried out to them. The same God who repeatedly forgave them the moment they repented.
God loves us and desires that we love Him in return. All He wants is for us to obey Him, follow His guidelines. We see what happens when we don’t. We should obey all commandments not just some. Just as we don’t murder, commit adultery, steal, give false testimony, covet what other people have, call God’s name in vain, we should worship one God, honour our parents and remember the Sabbath and most importantly, love God with all our might and soul and love one another. So the bottom line is, obedience to God is our guarantee of a good, Christian life and a lasting relationship with Father and Son.