1 Sam.15:22 – And 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 listen than the fat of rams.
This word, obedience, is like a dirty word. There are probably curse words that are more acceptable, even in so called Christian circles. What does it mean to obey God’s word? Actually, it is more than following a certain type of behavior or following a religious dogma. True obedience is all about the heart. What do I mean? Repentance from sinful behavior is a great example. Its not good enough to stop using drugs or other sins of choice to be acceptable to the Lord. He is looking for more than that. He is after our heart. In conversion that is what happens. repentance is a change of heart where you delight in doing different things. Before you may have delighted in consuming alcohol or drugs, now you delight in worship and going to church. That is more than a change of behavior, that is a heart change. Here is Dane Ortlund describing Edwards and his view on obedience.
“What is obedience? Doing what we love to do, out of a heart alive to beauty. Sin is doing what we love to do out of an unregenerate heart; obedience is doing what we love to do out of a regenerate heart. Sin is living out of our natural impulse; obedience is living out of our new impulse, what Edwards calls the new sense of the heart…. Edwards’s great insight regarding true obedience is that the will only chooses what the heart loves. The two—heart and will—operate in tandem and cannot do otherwise. The trouble is that we reflexively think of obedience as doing what we don’t want to do. Ponder the word obedience for a moment. Don’t you immediately think of that as submitting to what another wants us to do? I can either obey God, we think, or I can do what I want to do.”
This is why repentance is a supernatural thing. It is the Lord that grants repentance, it is His influence by grace through faith that produces a heart change. This is the story of the ages; Paul being turned from a persecutor to an apostle, Mary being changed from a woman of the night to a worshipper, and people all over the world today drinking from this cup of amazing grace. The Lord delights in obedience because it is the evidence of His work of grace in us.