What Is Obedience? How Do We Obey God?

Find inspiring scripture quotes on obedience and simple examples of obedience we can practice developing our faith. 

Christianity.com Editorial Staff
obedience, obedience meaning, scriptures on obedience, how to obey god

Meaning of Obedience

According to Merriam-Webster, obedience’s definition is “the act or instance of obeying; the quality or state of being obedient.” Furthermore, the definition of obedient is “submissive to the restraint or command of authority: willing to obey.” 

Therefore, the meaning of Christian obedience is the act of submitting (obeying) to the commands (laws) of God, the highest authority, creator, and Father of mankind. If you have faith in God and believe Christianity is the truth, obedience is the practice of living by faith, obeying the teachings of the Bible. Read some of the best scripture quotes about obedience in this collection of Bible verses and find three simple ways to practice obedience below.

Scriptures on Obedience

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments." - John 14:15

"But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men." - Acts 5:29

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance" - 1 Peter 1:14

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." - 1 John 5:3

"If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;" - Isaiah 1:19

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?" - Luke 6:46

“But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries." - Exodus 23:22

"I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me." - Psalm 119:30

"But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here." - John 14:31

How to Obey God: 3 Forms of Christian Obedience

The first two forms of Christian obedience given here come from Jesus’ teaching about the “greatest commandment of the law” in Matthew 22.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 22:36-40 

1. Love the Lord your God: Obedience can be to simply honor and praise God for your life and the blessings within. While this may seem obvious and easy, there are many distractions in the modern world (technology in particular) that can sidetrack us from appreciating the glory of God in our daily life. We must focus to obey the greatest commandment of Jesus and love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, giving thanks to Him continually. 

2. Love your neighbor as yourself: Continuing with the teaching from Matthew 22, our next example of obedience is to love your neighbor as yourself. In order to love our neighbor, friends, and even family, we must forgive them for their trespasses against us. As the Lord’s prayer says, “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:14 tells us, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Because humans are imperfect, trespasses against us will occur, so it is vital to forgive in order to love our neighbor. Obeying God means putting his commandments above our egoic desires to hold resentment towards others. Forgive and let go of anger!

3. Prayer: The Bible literally tells us to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. To live by faith means to live by prayer, commonly going to God in supplication and thanksgiving. If you feel that you are struggling with understanding or practicing obedience, pray for guidance and inspiration. Moreover, prayer itself is a form of obedience, as scripture says to humble ourselves and pray.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” - Philippians 4:6

(Bonus) Read the Bible: Scripture is the Word of God and a magnificent source of wisdom and encouragement to know and obey the commandments of God. Look to the Bible for inspiration in your devotion to obedience. May God bless you with love, peace, and faith.

Photo Credit: Sparrowstock


Originally published June 24, 2020.