Each Christian is responsible to determine the will of God for his or her life and then to do it. It is often easier for us to do anything other than what we know to be the will of God, deviating from essentials and substituting frenetic activity. But “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34).
The first step toward a life of obedience is to commit ourselves, once and for all, to obeying God. Joshua said: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). This once-for-all commitment then leads to a daily presenting of ourselves to the Lord: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
As we mature in Christ and in the knowledge of His Word, God expects from us an ever-deepening obedience. Even the sufferings and hardships we face should be seen as opportunities to learn greater obedience; Jesus “learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). As we understand new demands, we must respond immediately and irrevocably so that God can reveal yet deeper levels of His will for our lives. He desires that we bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
1. A person who asks questions about the will of God is a maturing Christian, one who is interested in a deeper walk with God. Commend his or her desire, offering your assurance that God wants to take the person just as far as he or she is willing to obey.
2. Take time to listen to concerns and desires. It may be helpful to refer to some aspect of the “Background” to encourage and guide the person further.
3. Encourage the inquirer to repent of any disobedience or vacillation. Only as we confess all known sin can we aspire to a deeper commitment.
4. Encourage getting into the Bible. There are no shortcuts in the life of obedience. Our minds must be set always to seek the will of the Lord. Following the progressive discipline revealed through the Bible will result in a walk of obedience to God. We must “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).
5. Pray with the inquirer for the fulfillment of his or her desire to obey God’s will.
6. Recommend cultivating fellowship with spiritually minded Christians in a Bible-teaching church, where he or she can learn more of the will and ways of God.
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26–28, NIV).
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. . . . Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:15, 21, NIV).
“But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him” (1 John 2:5, NIV).
Other suggested Scriptures:
1 Peter 2:13–16
The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996
Obedience, Keeping the Commandments
1. Jesus requires obedience.
John 14:15. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
2. Keeping the commandments of Jesus brings joy; you will remain in his love.
3. Stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to life; the broad path leads to death.
Matt. 7:13–14. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
4. Not all who say, “Lord, Lord,” will enter God’s kingdom.
Matt. 7:21. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
5. Jesus gave us the parable of the wise and foolish builders.
6. God rewards obedience.
Prov. 13:13. He who despises the word will be destroyed, But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
7. To obey is better than sacrifice.
1 Sam. 15:22–23. Then Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
8. Listen to God’s Word and do what it says.
Luke 11:28. But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
9. To love God is to keep his commandments.
1 John 5:2–3. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
10. God’s blessing and favor rest on those who obey him; obedience is the way to joy and peace.
11. If you truly know and love the Lord, you will want to keep his commands.
1 John 2:3–6. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
1 John 5:2–4. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
2 John 1:6. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
12. God teaches you the way to go, what is best for you, the way to peace.
Isa. 48:17–19. Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants also would have been like the sand, And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; His name would not have been cut off Nor destroyed from before Me.”
13. God’s promises should motivate us to live a life of purity and holiness.
2 Cor. 7:1. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
 Kruis, J. G. (1994). Quick scripture reference for counseling (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.