Obedience is submission to the rule or authority of another, compliance with or performance of a command, law, yielding to some actuating force or agency. To obey is to carry out or fulfill or comply with a command, order, or instruction.Oxford English Dictionary
  Disobedience is the refusal or failure to obey.American Heritage Dictionary To disobey is to refuse or fail to follow an order or a rule. To disobey is to neglect or refuse to obey; to omit or refuse to do what is commanded, or to do what is forbid; to transgress or violate an order or injunction. Refractory children disobey their parents; men disobey their maker and the laws; and we all disobey the precepts of the gospel.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Synonyms for disobedience include: contrariness, defiance, frowardness, insubordination, intractability, obstreperousness, rebellion, rebelliousness, recalcitrance, refractoriness, unruliness, waywardness, willfulness.

“Only ignorance and disobedience to principle need healing.”—Edna Lister

  Disobedience is a soul taint. Persistent or deliberate disobedience is a sin. Parents are under solemn obligation before law to teach their children the need for obedience to law, and to teach the laws themselves. Failure to do so causes the parents to pay a debt of responsibility for the child’s disobedience in adulthood.

Edna Lister on Disobedience

If you misuse ascension Power, you lose face and place, which will cause you great sorrow and labor in your climb back to glory. The climb is higher, the fire is doubled, for purification must be complete.—Edna Lister, October 31, 1938

You must pay disobedience to a law in full.—Edna Lister, November 6, 1938

Disobedience causes damage to delicate fibers of mind and body.—Edna Lister, January 11, 1939

You can avoid much future sorrow by recalling past grief and heartache over disobedience.—Edna Lister, April 5, 1939

Go to God every night in humility and penitence for the seconds you misspent on earth.—Edna Lister, April 19, 1939.

Disobedience anywhere by anyone disturbs all vibrations everywhere.—Edna Lister, September 13, 1939

To count self-will and disobedience as free will is misuse of Mind, Substance and Power.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

If you sidestep responsibility, you pay a triple debt for disobeying law. You need not pay debts the hard way if you let Shekinah glory use you as joy to pay all debts while you receive a redoubled blessing of added things.—Edna Lister, May 6, 1941

To break one law creates a debt to be paid to all law. Stand steadfastly and love so well that law shall always be in balance for you.—Edna Lister, December 26, 1944

Perception grows more acute as awareness of disobedience to law increases.—Edna Lister, January 31, 1945

Repent as you work, when and where you disobey. Repent here for your disobedience here, not in heaven when you disobey here.—Edna Lister, July 7, 1945

Watchful obedience is an essential law, or you can slip into a worse state, causing greater soul debts than before. Your debts have been softened and modified because of deep ignorance since the Fall; thus, you can create as much debt in one disobedience now as you did in one whole lifetime under ignorance.—Edna Lister, July 10, 1945

Whenever you ask, "What is wrong with me? Why am I down? Why do I feel this way?", you are not under the Light and have disobeyed.—Edna Lister, September 19, 1945

When you ignore law, the self says, "I will hold sway. I AM minding my own business, but he is … " So it goes until you kick your self black and blue.—Edna Lister, July 6, 1947

One disobedience of law does not excuse another.—Edna Lister, July 20, 1956

Obey physical laws. If you disobey, you tempt others to demand unjustly. Once a soul breaks a law, it always involves many, eventually reaching out to include the whole earth.—Edna Lister, March 6, 1951

Taking advantage of an opportunity is different from taking a chance, which is usually a minor infraction that leads to huge disobedience.—Edna Lister, May 28, 1953

When you live by honor sincerely, never disobeying that honor in lesser ways, you earn high credits when you leave earth.—Edna Lister, May 19, 1955

Disobedience to law causes dis-ease, dis-comfort and all limitation.—Edna Lister, The Art of Right Thinking and Expression, September 16, 1955

Even in the midst of disobedience, you can call upon God’s laws.—Edna Lister, The Three Temptations, February 19, 1956

Power will not tolerate misuse—it will turn and rend you. The slightest misuse of Power can cause 100,000 people to fail in a few seconds.—Edna Lister, June 18, 1956

You cannot disobey the law with impunity. The higher you are in soul ascension, the greater the reaction of force.—Edna Lister, December 15, 1957

You experience delays because your disobedience kills your desires.—Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958

You always disobey all laws when you excuse self by saying such things as, "I can’t help it because I’m in the business world where it goes on all the time." Nothing excuses twisting your ethics.—Edna Lister, December 15, 1958

Someone who has seen the truth, then turns his back and disobeys, amasses great debts and uses his own soul substance in payment.—Edna Lister, Visualization, May 17, 1959

You can use law for yourself, but not to make others do what you want.—Edna Lister, June 18, 1959

Only ignorance and disobedience to principle need healing.—Edna Lister, Healing by Principle, July 12, 1959

Everyone must obey the laws of business. If they disobey but are not caught by man’s laws, they are caught by disobedience to physical laws.—Edna Lister, August 24, 1959

You always pay debts to the law for disobedience to vows you make.—Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 20, 1959

If you disobey law, the Emanations of Love, Wisdom and Joy in Selflessness and teach men so, you shall become the least in the kingdom, a floating entity, mindless.—Edna Lister, May 8, 1960

The law of obedience covers all law, for if you break the least of the laws, you have broken the whole. If I break the least of these laws, I am guilty of breaking all law.—Edna Lister, January 6, 1961

You do not get by with any physical misuse of Mind, Substance or Power—you always pay a debt.—Edna Lister, January 12, 1961

Indifference leads into disobedience. Man’s disobedience to principle, the Divine Plan and the law destroys his civilizations.—Edna Lister, God’s Magna Carta, October 29, 1961

The law has no sense, but is automatic. If you disobey one law, it blocks everything you plan.—Edna Lister, The Four Powers: Power to Ascend, December 18, 1962

Even a few seconds of sinking often requires months to regain the same place.—Edna Lister, September 27, 1963

You must catch the subconscious in the act of disobedience to cleanse and purify it thoroughly. Challenge yourself every step of the way or you slide into decline. The first evidence is that you forget and miss details. Make every moment a challenge to climb until your desire burns, until you can’t sit, sleep or think without challenging yourself. Hunger and thirst to return to the Source and you don’t rest until you do. Lord, don’t let me miss a detail today.—Edna Lister, July 28, 1964

You have only three reasons for disobedience to law. First is lack of knowledge that a law covers this instance. Second, a lack of understanding when you do know. Finally, willful disobedience. You disobey every time you object.—Edna Lister, July 28, 1964

It is well immediately to learn that you may offer no excuses. All your difficulties arise from making excuses for disobedience. The quest is to hide it from the self. You cannot cover it up from the universe or God’s higher law.—Edna Lister, June 10, 1965

When you disobey, you mock the Master.—Edna Lister, Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock, June 19, 1966

If I disobey one law, I disobey all laws. You regress as many levels as the extent of your disobedience; your vibration dies down and you experience physical ailments.—Edna Lister, 1,000 Burnt Offerings, November 23, 1969

When you disobey, you separate Power from Mind and Substance. Substance must be brought back and added to Mind, but the only way to lift misused Power is through a physical body.—Edna Lister, May 28, 1970

Disobedience shuts off your access to the River of Life’s life-giving flow.—Edna Lister, The Blind Man at the Pool of Siloam, December 6, 1970

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A Story About Disobedience

Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.—1 Samuel 15:10-23

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New Testament on Disobedience

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.—John 8:34.

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?—Hebrews 2:1-4

[No] unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.—Ephesians 5:5-6

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.—James 2:8-10

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.—1 John 3:4

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of disobey: Latin dis + oboedire, "to obey."

Etymology of obey: Latin oboedire, "to listen to": ob, "to" + audire, "to hear."

Disobedience is a soul taint.

Persistent or deliberate disobedience is a sin.


When you are out of harmony with God’s will, problems come—their purpose is to push you into harmony. If you would willingly do God’s will, you could avoid the problems.—Peace Pilgrim

Obey something, and you will have a chance to learn what is best to obey. But if you begin by obeying nothing, you will end by obeying the devil and all his invited friends.—John Ruskin


American Heritage Dictionary, 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. ISBN 9780544454453.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2024

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Peace Pilgrim (Mildred Lisette Norman). Steps Toward Inner Peace, 1964.

Ruskin, John. As quoted by Rev. James Wood, comp., Dictionary of Quotations, London, New York: Frederick Warne & Co., 1899, no. 237.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

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