In my earlier career as a teacher I dressed my classroom to inspire my students. The posters and displays that adorned the walls were there to further the children’s education and ignite their imagination. There was, however, one piece that did not serve the students interests. Strategically pinned above my desk was a plain, but profound poster that read, “Because I Say So!” How I loved it! Whenever my instruction was met with resistance I could imperiously point above my head and silence the whining. Without a word, I could quickly settle any dispute and stall any uprising. “Because I Say So!” granted me near impunity. How I miss it.
My students appreciated the humor even as they responded to the truth in the mirth. I was in a position of legitimate authority, my will was binding and they responded with obedience. Today, I find myself in a similar circumstance, except I am now the one under authority. I am not a student, but by faith I am a slave to Christ, and I now live under His absolute authority (Eph. 6:6; 1 Cor. 7:22). As His possession, my conduct is constrained by his will. This imbalance of power is enough to explain my Christian conduct—I choose to live as he commands simply ‘because He said so.’
This arrangement would be sufficient to order my life but Scripture offers some other motivations for righteousness. Consider these reasons for faithful living:
1. Obedience is pleasing to God
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”” (John 14:21)
It pleases our heavenly Father when we respond to him with obedience. Since we love Him, it stands to reason that His pleasure is our ambition.
2. Obedience is pleasing to us
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
Since we love God, we should enjoy pleasing Him. His yoke is easy, his commands are no hardship and we can take pleasure in making our God happy.
3. Obedience is beneficial for us
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19–20)
Jesus tells us that it’s in our best interests to live in obedience. A righteous life is promised some future benefit. Does this motivation tarnish our obedience by making it somewhat mercenary? No. Jesus validates this motivation repeatedly (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:34-35)
In the end, it all concludes in the same place—we are called to live obediently. Obedience is the province of the happy and it’s the path to even greater happiness.