I have been thinking alot about the difference between compliance and obedience. Most of this thinking spurred by being the parent of a five-year-old, and wanting obedience more than I want compliance. I think God wants the same thing from us--obedience not compliance.
Here is the difference, at least by the way I define the two, compliance is doing something, though you may not want to do it. You can comply even while your heart is anywhere but in a place of respect or trust for the person you are complying with. Compliance can also be forced upon someone.
Compliance also demeans the person who is complying. They submit in an unhealthy way--because they are forced. They are now a victim.
Obedience is done because I want to do what is being asked. Obedience cannot be forced. I must choose to obey. I can comply, but obedience is my responsibility alone.
In thinking about my five-year-old, I want her to obey. I can make her comply, but then her trust and confidence in me is broken. She must obey. Sometimes I get angry or frustrated and make her comply, but I have not received her obedience.
Many times I have complied with God. I have grudgingly done what I feel is required, and I have hated every minute of it. Obedience is different, I obey because I want to do what is required. Here is the problem, even when I don't want to what God asks, I still need to obey. It is an attitude of my heart and submission to His authority.
I hope to be obedient and not just compliant.