“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak for myself.” (John 7:17)
Biblically, obedience to the truth cannot be divorced from understanding. It’s obedience that opens the door to understanding God and His ways. God does not indiscriminately reveal His truth, but reserves it for those who are committed to following Him. A.W. Tozer commented, “We must be willing to obey if we would know the true inner meaning of the teachings of Christ and the apostles.”
In the New Testament, the Greek word most frequently translated, as “obedience” is the word “hupakouo.” Hupakouo is a compound Greek word derived from the word “hupo” meaning “under,” and the word “akouo” meaning “to hear.” The concept conveyed in this word is “to hear and come under the authority of what we have heard.” It describes for us what obedience is. Obedience is hearing and responding, by aligning my life with what I heard.
James warns us about being a “hearer of the word and not a doer” (James 1:23). The question we must ask ourselves is “Do I listen with the intent to do what I hear?” There are many that seek to collect knowledge, without any intention of applying it to their life. Such people are self-deceived (James 1:22). Jesus describes such a person as, “a foolish man who built his house upon the sand” (Matt. 7:26).
It is only in “hearing and coming under the authority of the truth” (obedience), that I then possess it. The true riches of the Kingdom belong to those who do His will, not to those who “know” His will. The quality of our life is not determined by our supposed intellectual grasp of truth, but in obeying the truth. May God grant us the grace to align our lives with God’s truth, because truth really does matter.