What Does the Bible Say about Disobedience?

Adam and Eve disobeyed God, passing on this sin nature to everyone born after them. This is the bad news. But the good news is that years later, Jesus came to earth, showed us many things, and lived completely obediently to the Father. He humbled Himself in obedience to God and even died a criminal’s death on the cross (Philippians 2:8).

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about disobedience.

What Is Disobedience?

Disobedience is defined as a failure or refusal to obey rules or someone in authority. Ultimately, it is going against what God has commanded in His Word and disobeying how He wants us to live. Disobedience is rebellion against God or simply not trusting that He knows best.

What Does the Bible Say about Disobedience?

The Bible often calls disobedience rebellion or stubbornness. Jesus said that if you love Him, you should obey His commandments (John 14:15). He even asked someone why they would call Him Lord, Lord and then not do what He says (Luke 6:46). The word Lord means someone who has power, authority, or influence and is a master or ruler. So, it only follows that you, if you call Him Lord, should obey Him.

The Lord loves when we obey His Word. To obey is better than sacrificing something (1 Samuel 15:22). Disobedience is very serious to God. In 1 Samuel 15, the Lord removed Saul’s anointing as king because of Saul’s rebellion. The prophet Samuel tells Saul that rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshipping idols (1 Samuel 15:23).

We should be accountable to God, but we also must obey our spiritual leaders here on earth because their work is to watch over our souls and they are accountable to God for us, so as long as what they say is backed up by the Bible, obey them and make them proud (Hebrews 13:17).

Disobedience was so rampant in the past that a psalmist cried out that rivers of tears gushed from his eyes because people disobeyed the Lord’s instructions (Psalm 119:136). I think disobedience is still rampant today. We should cry when we see it in others and ourselves.

How Is Obedience Shown in the Bible?

Hebrews 11 gives us some great examples of obedience to seek to imitate.

- Abel presented a better offering than Cain.

- Enoch lived his life to please God.

- Noah built a gigantic ark.

- Abraham went on a journey even though he didn’t know the destination.

- Abraham also offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice. (Thankfully, he didn’t have to do it.)

- The Israelites followed Moses through the wilderness.

- Joshua’s army marched around Jericho for seven days.

- Rahab protected the Israelite spies.

God spoke, and these people obeyed.

10 Practical Ways to Avoid Disobedience

Your Bible reading, prayer time, and counsel with other believers will reveal specific things that you need to be obedient in that fits your life personally. Some are called to share wisdom and knowledge. Some are called to show great faith. Some to prophesy. Some may even have a gift of healing. Some have a special anointing to serve. Some are called to encourage or teach. Whatever your personal gifting is, you need to walk in it obediently. It is not just for your sake, but for the common good of many others.

There is also a list of commands in Romans 12:9-21 that can help anyone to walk in obedience every day, regardless of what their giftings are. These items fall under the category of loving your neighbor, which is the second greatest commandment. They will keep you from being idle. You will avoid disobedience because you will be doing things that honor God. All of us should do these things:

1. Love others. Always work at loving your neighbor as yourself.

2. Honor other people. Lift up their good deeds.

3. Never be lazy. Work hard to serve the Lord enthusiastically and often.

4. Be patient in affliction and trouble. Pray instead of complaining.

5. Be eager to practice hospitality. Invite people into your home or to a coffee shop to have a conversation.

6. When people are rude to you, don’t curse them. Pray for them instead.

7. Rejoice when people around you have good news. Weep when they get bad news. Try not to let anyone in your presence feel all alone.

8. Develop humility by looking out for other people and not comparing yourself with them.

9. Do all that you can to live in peace and harmony with others.

The 10th way of obedience is this: Spread the Good News of the Gospel as much as you can. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all the nations. This is the best way to be obedient!

Conclusion & Prayer

In conclusion, what does the Bible say about disobedience? Joshua 1:8 tells us that we will be blessed if we study the Book of Instruction continually. We should meditate on it day and night and obey everything written in it.

And Romans 12:1 pleads with us to give our bodies to God because of all he has done for us. We should be living and holy sacrifices doing as much as we can to follow His will. Worshipping Him is shown by how we live.

It is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it (James 4:17). So, we should keep putting into practice the good things that we see to do in the Bible. God’s peace will be with us as we do.

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. - John 14:23

Dear Lord, Sometimes I disobey You because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to perform the task well. I am not trusting that You will be there to help me each step of the way. I’m not believing that You will give me the right words to say in the moment that I need them. But I know that Your Word tells me that You will always be with me forever and ever. So, why should I fear that my weaknesses will overshadow Your goodness? They can’t. Lord, I do believe but help my many moments of unbelief. I do love You with my heart and mind but help me to also love You with all my strength as well. Help me to take a new step in obedience every day, knowing that You are there to pick me up if I fall. Amen.

It's a good idea to seek to take a new step in obedience each day. Doing so will stretch your comfort zone and make it easier to obey the next day.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Ben White 


headshot of author Jenni HeerenJennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.

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