“Obedience” is not a “Bad Word.”
Obedience is not a bad or ugly word. I have never seen the word “obedience” written on a bathroom wall. However in today’s world it may show up, because it does not have a very positive connotation in the Christian religion. This may be because we focus on the rules/commandments rather than on the One who gave us the commandments. But for whatever reason obedience has suffered a “fall from grace” with some who emphasize that it is all about grace.
However the word “obedience” is a very good word. The mistake we make sometimes is thinking of God as a dictator or drill sergeant who demands obedience because of His “authoritarian” rule and anything but “strict conformity” will bring His wrath. This is perhaps because of the way some in authority (such as our parents, teachers, rulers, bosses, preachers, elders, and others) have exercised authority in a hateful authoritarian way during our lifetime and therefore they have helped to form and fashion a very negative view of obedience in many cases. We have allowed the “dictator” mentality to define our view of obedience to mean simply, “do it or else” with no question or hesitation or suffer the consequences!
But this is not the way we should view our obedience to God. He does not want us to view “keeping His commandments” as simply authoritarian demands that we “keep or else!” It is when we consider obedience to God as our loving “response” to what God wants for us and what is best for us that things change in us. “Trust and obey” should convey the idea of trust and respond to Jesus the Son. We trust in what He approves because He wants to help us to improve. Being in “His kingdom” (Col. 1:13) necessitates giving up control of our lives to His care and direction for our lives. When we are in control we are in spiritual darkness,but when we submit our lives to His care (otherwise known as obedience)it is a sign of spiritual smartness.
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— (Romans 16:25-26). If you know these things, BLESSED are you if you DO them. (John 13:17). When God tells us to do something, it is for our own good. He is really saying, “Do yourself a favor.” When He tells us not to do something, it is something we don’t need to do anyway. He is really saying, “Don’t hurt yourself.” Remember, no good thing does He withhold, and it’s always best to do as we’re told. He never withholds from us anything good, and He always wants us to do as we should.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD From those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today FOR YOUR GOOD? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).