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Posted by Daniel Maddry on



Bible: Psalm 119:35

Bottom Line: We have joy when we obey God.


  • List of commands
  • Slips of paper, each with a number from one to twelve
  • 12 full sheets of copy paper, each with a number from one to twelve
  • Masking tape
  • Bucket


Place the twelve numbered slips of paper into the bucket.

Before students arrive, use the masking tape to attach the sheets of copy paper to the ground.

Place the sheets of paper in a straight line across the front of your youth space, where you (the leader) will stand to give instructions for the game.

Divide students into groups of two and ask them to spread out all over your youth space.

Have each pair stand facing each other.


Say: We’re going to play a game that will see how well you obey commands.

If you’ve ever said, “You can’t tell me what to do,” you might have a little trouble with this game because that’s what it’s all about!

You have been given a partner.

I will read a command.

In your groups, each person will decide if you want to do the command or pass.

If you want to do it, raise your hand.

If you want to pass, point to your partner.

Only one of you can choose to do the command or pass, so you will want to choose quickly—and be honest about who said what first.

Got it?

Next, I will say, “Come!”

The person who raised their hand will quickly join me up front and stand on one of these numbers across the front, facing everyone else left standing without a partner.

More than one person can stand on each number if you have more than twelve pairs of students.

Next, I will say, “Go!”

Everyone up front will do what I commanded, but one of you will be eliminated.


After I say, “Stop,” and everyone up front is standing still, I will draw a number from this bucket.

If I draw the number you are standing on, you will be eliminated from the game.

At that point, your partner can choose another partner from the people that are not standing upfront.

If your partner is chosen as someone’s new partner, you are also out of the game.

The people left in the game after all the commands have been given are the winners!

List of Commands

  • Pat your head and rub your belly.
  • Pretend like you’re jumping rope.
  • Do jumping jacks.
  • Stare at the ceiling and spin in circles.
  • Whistle.
  • Stand on one foot.
  • Clap your hands as fast as you can.
  • Put your hands on your hips and nod your head up and down.


Say: That was a lot of fun to watch!

Sometimes, it’s easier to watch people do what they’re told than to actually do it yourself.

Ask: Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”

Have any of you actually ever tried?

Why does/doesn’t it work?

Allow a few responses from students.

On the TV show, “Mythbusters,” they actually proved that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

After just one week, they taught two seven-year-old dogs to sit, stay, lie down, heel, and even shake hands [source: Discovery].

So, what’s the trick and how did they do it?

Time and patience.

Their experiment found that as long as the dog was healthy, felt loved, and was treated well, it was happy to do exactly what it was asked to do.

That didn’t mean it was easy.

It took a lot of repetition and patience as they were training the dogs.

So, there’s some good news—you can still teach Fido something new, even if you’ve never tried to teach him anything before now.

Ask: What about you—is it easy or hard for you to do what you’ve been told to do?

Would you consider yourself to be obedient?

Allow a few responses from students.

Most of us don’t mind doing what we’re told if we like what we’re being told to do.

If you have a chore you enjoy doing, then it’s not a big deal when your parents ask you to do it.

But, the other chores—the ones you don’t like—that’s a different story.

The truth is, sometimes we just have to be obedient, whether or not it’s what we want to do.

Read Psalm 119:35.

Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.

The Bible is full of God’s commands.

The world tends to view these commands as rules that take all the fun out of life, but that’s not the case at all.

I’d like us to take a look at this verse in The Message.

If you’ve ever read The Message version of the Bible, sometimes, it’s a little easier to understand.

It’s not a word-for-word translation, but it paraphrases the verses into modern-day English.

Here’s Psalm 119:35 in The Message version:

God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.

Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response.

Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!

In this version of the scripture, you can really see the heart behind what King David has written.

He’s not being forced to follow God’s commands, it’s his desire—what he truly wants to do with his life.

Why? Because God’s commands aren’t written to control us, but to help us live the best life God has for us.

As people get older, sometimes, they think, “I’ve done too many wrong things and made too many bad choices to start following God now.”

But, it’s never too late!

Even at your age, you may think you’ve messed up too many times to start being obedient to what God has said.

No matter what you’ve done, you can have a fresh start and begin with a clean slate in God’s eyes.

There’s nothing any of us can do that makes it impossible for us to live a life that follows God.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for things we’ve already done, but God will be with us even if we have to face things we’ve done in our past.

So, if you are new to following Christ, then start right where you are and take a look at what the Bible says about how you should live.

If you have a relationship with God, ask Him to give you wisdom and insight into what His commands are saying.

God’s commands play a vital role in the life of a believer.

God is wiser than we are—I’m pretty sure that we already knew that.

His commands protect us from making decisions that could hurt us.

For example: In the Ten Commandments, we read, “Do not kill.”

Most of us understand what happens if we murder someone—you go to prison, live with guilt and regret, and hurt others.

If we follow this command, then we are protected from the consequences that we would face if we committed murder.

But, the “big sins” aren’t the only types of things God warns us about.

The Bible is full of words of wisdom that lead us down a path that will bring us joy and contentment.

Just think, if you refuse to gossip about others, you don’t lie or act deceitfully, and you put the needs of others before yourself, you are setting yourself up to have great friendships and amazing relationships with others.

The wisdom we find in God’s commands helps us understand His heart and love for each of us.

No matter where you are in your relationship with God, you can begin to be obedient to God’s commands—not the rules of a dictator or someone who just wants to boss us around, but of a loving Father who has given us wisdom and knowledge to live a life that will be full of His joy.

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