The concept of obeying God rather than man is deeply rooted in the Bible and has been a guiding principle for many believers. At its core, this phrase refers to the idea that our loyalty and obedience should be directed toward God rather than any human authority or institution. This principle is found throughout God’s Word, from the story of Daniel in the lion’s den to the early Christian martyrs who refused to renounce their faith.
As Christians, we are called to follow the example of Jesus, who consistently obeyed God above the demands of human leaders. This can be a difficult path to follow, as it often involves going against the expectations of society or risking persecution. However, by relying on our faith and seeking guidance from God, we can navigate these challenges and remain true to our convictions.
Why Are We Told To Obey God Rather Than Man?
The Bible reminds us repeatedly to obey God rather than man. From the very beginning of Genesis, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we understand that there is a consequence for not obeying God’s commands.
Throughout Scripture, this same theme continues. Jesus himself faced this conflict several times during his ministry—he was asked to follow the laws and customs of man but chose instead to obey what he knew to be true according to his Father in heaven (Luke 4:8–10). In Matthew 22:21, Jesus tells us directly, “Render therefore unto Caesar… And unto God the things which are God’s.”
We are told to obey God rather than man for many reasons. First and foremost, God is our Creator and, as such, has the right to set guidelines for how we should live our lives (Genesis 1:28). He knows what is best for us and desires that we follow His ways to experience true joy and peace.
Furthermore, while man’s laws may change over time, God’s laws remain consistent throughout all of eternity. Therefore, when making decisions based on which authority to obey, it is important to remember which will have lasting consequences—obedience or disobedience to God’s commands.
Obeying God also helps us to avoid sinning in our daily lives. While man-made laws can be broken with different levels of consequences, God’s laws are absolute and can never be broken without consequence.
In addition, when we obey God’s commands, we demonstrate our faith in Him and develop a stronger relationship with Him. When we disobey His commands, we sin against Him and hurt ourselves by breaking the fellowship meant to be enjoyed through a personal relationship with Him.
What Does The Bible Say About Obeying Men?
The Bible is full of teachings that emphasize the importance of obedience to authority. In the Old Testament, we find commands such as Deuteronomy 28:1, which instructs us to “obey the voice of the Lord your God, and do all his commandments and his statutes.” Similarly, Proverbs 6:20-21 tells us to “obey the commands of our parents.”
But it is not just in the Old Testament that we find instruction about obeying men; Lord Jesus himself said in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do what I say?” Here, Jesus emphasizes the importance of following his commands even when human beings give them and not necessarily God himself.
In addition, the Bible often speaks about submission to authority figures such as rulers, employers, and pastors. Romans 13:1–2 tells us we should “be subject to governing authorities… for there is no authority except God.” Similarly, Ephesians 6:5-6 instructs us to “obey your earthly masters with respect, and fear the Lord.”
In the New Testament, Jesus’ life and teachings are a vivid example of obedience to authority. One such instance can be found in Luke when Jesus filled Jerusalem with His teachings and was met with opposition from the chief priests and scribes. Despite their refusal to believe in Him, Jesus did not resist or challenge them but instead showed Himself to be completely obedient to their authority.
Lastly, there is a clear example from the New Testament of obeying humans equating to obedience to God in the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem (Luke 19:37–44). Here, Jesus humbly rides into the city on a donkey and is hailed by all the saints as the Son of God. This shows us that obeying humans is an act of submitting to and glorifying God and the Holy Spirit. Even though it can be difficult always to obey those in authority, it ultimately brings glory to God.
Why Does Obeying God Rather Than Man Matter?
Obeying God rather than man is vital to living a life that pleases Him. To understand why this matters, it’s essential to recognize that God is the absolute authority, and He should be obeyed above all others. In Deuteronomy 10:20, it’s written: “Fear the LORD your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name.” This verse emphasizes that God is the one who should be feared, held onto, served, and sworn by.
When we obey God rather than man, it demonstrates our faithfulness to Him and a willingness to trust His leading. The Bible also instructs us to submit to those in authority. Romans 13:1 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”
God has established the authorities that exist. This shows us how important it is to obey human authorities even when they do not align with God’s will; however, if obeying human authority means going against what God has commanded us to do, then we must obey Him first. By putting our trust in God and choosing to obey His will over the will of man, we show Him that we are dedicated to following Him and trusting in His way.
We also demonstrate that we have faith in His guidance and an understanding of His sovereignty. The Bible also reminds us that it is better to obey God even if it means suffering, as is written in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than any human authority,” according to Peter and what the other apostles answered.
Obeying God rather than man matters because it demonstrates our commitment to a life of faith and our trust in His will. We can be confident that whatever God asks us to do, it is the best path to take. He knows what’s best for us and when we put Him first, we show that we have faith in His leading. Obeying God rather than man is essential to living a life that is pleasing to Him.
How Are You Going To Obey God Rather Than Man?
The question of how to obey God rather than man is important for those who prioritize their faith above all else. It is often difficult to reconcile our spiritual beliefs with the expectations and demands of society. Still, some key strategies can help us stay true to our convictions.
First, it is essential to understand what God expects of us clearly. This requires regular study of religious texts, reflection on our beliefs, and prayer for guidance. By developing a deep and intimate relationship with God, we can more easily discern His will and avoid being swayed by the opinions of others.
Second, we must be willing to stand up for our beliefs, even if it means going against the prevailing culture or risking persecution. This requires courage, conviction, and willingness to suffer for our faith. However, it is essential to remember that we are not alone in our struggle and that many others throughout history have faced similar challenges and triumphed by holding fast to their beliefs.
Third, we should seek out communities of like-minded individuals who share our values and provide support and encouragement. This may involve joining a church or other religious organization, participating in small groups or Bible studies, or connecting with other believers online.
Finally, we should strive to live our lives in a way that honors God and reflects our commitment to Him. This means being kind, compassionate, and loving to others, even those who may disagree with us. It also means being honest and transparent in our dealings with others and avoiding actions that compromise our integrity or contradict our beliefs.
Obeying God rather than men is something we must strive towards. Christianity teaches us that we should love the Lord our God with our heart and soul and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). We must honor Him above all else, including people in authority over us.
However, when the government commands something that goes against God’s will, we must choose to obey Him instead. Jesus Christ, Himself was arrested due to His refusal to bow down to human authority. But Peter and John answered, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:19). God raised us to do the same and take a stand for our faith.