A long time ago I wrote a post called, “A Different Kind of Obedience” and posted it here. It wasn’t terribly noticed as a blog post – but an odd thing has happened since I wrote it. It is the number one “searched for” post on my blog. For some reason, a lot of people seem to be typing into search engines, “Kinds of Obedience” and “Types of Obedience” and end up on that post because of that search.
I’m intrigued by this – honestly I never thought that people would go searching for those terms all that often, but apparently, according to my blog statistics, they are. So I say, let’s give the people what they want, and talk some more about different types of obedience to God! 🙂
BEFORE YOU CAN OBEY, YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO HEAR HIS VOICE
First of all, before we can talk about types of obedience, the most important thing is to have a relationship with God and to have learned how to connect with Him through Jesus, and to hear His voice. I am busy writing some blog posts on the topic of hearing God, but until I have them finished, I will point you to another resource, the AKOUO page. AKOUO has an entire course (for free) about learning to hear God’s voice. You can’t obey Him if you can’t hear Him, and you need a relationship with Jesus to be able to hear Him reliably (or else it gets very confusing as to whether it’s God’s voice or the enemy’s voice – Jesus is the way through that.)
The blog post I mentioned above I think is probably the best thing that I personally have to say on the topic of obedience to God, so if you’re someone who has googled “types of obedience” then by all means, read that post. But here is another little bit of thinking I’ve done on the topic –
And that is, that obedience really differs in difficulty according to what is being asked of us according to a few factors. One factor is whether or not we know how to do what God is asking us to do. Being asked to do something you are good at and like to do and have the means to do is very different than the type of challenge someone faces if they believe God is asking them to do something they don’t know how to do, or don’t like doing, or don’t know how to get the means to do it.
Another factor is if we know the probable outcome. Do we think the outcome of obeying what God is saying is something we will enjoy? Or is it something that seems like it might turn out badly but God is telling us to do it anyway? Or do we have no idea what the reason or outcome of our obedience might be?
Putting these factors together into a scale, I’ve come up with:
7 types of obedience to God:
Type one: You know how to obey, and know the results will be pleasant
You are led to do something where you clearly can see the intended outcome of your actions and that outcome is clearly going to be overwhelmingly positive. You also know how to do this thing and it is fully within your power. The only thing at stake is diligence on your end.
Type two: You’re not sure how to obey, but know the results will be pleasant
You are led to do something difficult that you aren’t sure you fully know how to do. However, you can see that it will have a positive outcome on all counts.
Type three: You know how to obey, but don’t know the reason or outcome.
You are led to do something easy but you don’t know why or what it would accomplish. However, you know the Lord is asking you to do it.
Type four: You’re not sure how to obey, and don’t know the reason or outcome.
You are led to do something difficult that you aren’t fully sure how to do it, and you don’t know why or what it will accomplish. But you know the Lord is asking you to do it.
Type five: You know how to obey, but know the outcomes could be both pleasant and unpleasant
You are led to do something that clearly will have positive outcomes but may result in other negative outcomes as well. You may fully understand why, and it is a choice of whether or not you are willing to bear the negative outcomes for the sake of the positive ones. If you can’t see any positive outcomes at all, it’s probably not God asking you to do this thing – God always has a good purpose, and if there is no good purpose at all then it is usually not God asking you to do this thing.
Type six: You know how to obey, but don’t know why and know the results will be very unpleasant.
You are asked to do something that makes absolutely no sense to you whatsoever, but you clearly know what it is you are to do. It is also very clear that some seriously negative ramifications will come as a result of your actions.
Type seven: You’re not clear on how to obey, and you don’t know what will happen when you do.
You have a vague awareness of what you are being asked to do but some details are missing and you aren’t sure you fully know what you are to do. Outcomes are also unclear.
Of course, if things are all the way at type seven, you might want to consider that you are just not ready yet to obey this instruction, and ask God for more clarification. But sometimes, sometimes the Lord’s clarification will be, “Just do what I am telling you.” Sometimes His clarification will be more conversation on the topic than that. When all else fails – read the other article! 🙂
And one of these days – I’ll have published the article series I’m working on that goes into the HOWS of even hearing God’s voice. So, stay tuned!