Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

During my daily devotion last week, I came across the scripture 1 Samuel 15:22

(KJV) “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.”

To sum it up: “obedience is better than sacrifice”

I don’t know how many times I had heard this scripture and this reference but never truly understood it until now. Before when I would hear this or read it, by “sacrifice” I thought they meant physical sacrifice. In the old testament they would sacrifice animals to God as an offering. I thought it meant that God didn’t want us giving him anything superficial, because he finds more joy in us obeying him than trying to please him with our physical actions. Obedience is in the heart and not our physical actions. (And in a way it does still kind of touch on that, but this topic is deeper than I had thought to dig at the time.)

However, now that I’ve read this verse numerous times, I finally understood “sacrifice” in a whole new light. Sacrifice as in, when we disobey God it’s like we’re sacrificing our salvation. Every time we disobey God we’re stepping outside of his covering for us and he can no longer protect us. We don’t know if when we step out “this time”, we’ll be able to repent and come back to God. A lot of the time we’re sacrificing our salvation over something that’s only going to end up being temporal anyways. Also “sacrifice” relates to how in disobeying God we usually end up loosing something, or being hurt in the process of trying to do “you.” We tend to think that our method of things will get us where we want to be faster, but often times we cause more damage to ourselves this way. So our best bet is to wait for God’s instructions. Because Saul didn’t obey God, he ended up sacrificing his position as King. A lot of the times when we step outside of the will, we end up missing out on opportunities God may have had planned for us. Most of the time if we had only obeyed God the first time, we could have avoided some of the harder paths we led ourselves down, or even avoided a few heart breaks along the way.

A lot of the time the trick of the devil is to make us think that, in obeying God we’re sacrificing the “good” stuff we really want to do. He almost wants us to think we’ll lose out on something by doing what God says. When in actuality we’ll gain more than we think we’d actually be loosing. But it’s all a matter of being obedient to the Lord. If we obey God now, then we won’t have to sacrifice later. If we listen to what God is saying we can avoid having to suffer unnecessary consequences of our own actions. It’s only once we make up our minds that God knows what’s best for us that we’ll realize our salvation is not worth sacrificing, especially over anything the world may have to offer.Why make things more difficult than they need to be, avoid the sacrifice and obey God.

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Birthed Out of Pain

Today in church, part of my Pastor’s message dealt with certain desires we have that can be birthed out of pain.  Sometimes as Christians, we tend to do certain “worldly things” to medicate ourselves( make ourselves “feel” better).  Meaning we sometimes find things to cater to our own fleshly desires, instead of abstaining from it. One of the  reasons we may do this is because, most of the time, there was something we never got growing up, so when we get older we obsess to make sure we have whatever we didn’t get then.(This is one among many reasons, but no matter what the reason it can all be labeled as dysfunction & pain.)

Say when you were younger, your parents may not have shown you enough affection and affirmation. When you grew older, it may have been something in you obsessed with making sure you got the affection and affirmation you wanted, even if it wasn’t the affection and affirmation you needed.

What ends up happening is that ultimately, if we get so caught up in fulfilling the desire, the desire becomes the thing that drives our life and we begin to operate out of pain. Sometimes we’re able to admit to the pain, but other times (as in my case) you can be so far in, you don’t even realize you’re hurt to begin with.

When it comes to men, anyone who knows me well can tell you it’s an area I struggle in. Whenever I find that I really like someone, things just seem to go wrong. For a long time I kept thinking maybe I just attract certain men and I couldn’t ever particularly figure out why. This is a question I’ve constantly asked myself especially within the last 2-3 years of my life. It’s seems at times to be different guy, same scenario. Clearly there’s an issue. So I began to examine the common denominator; me.

So in church today, my Pastor did an altar call about people living their lives out of their brokeness. And at first I sat in my seat thinking to myself, I’ve been to the altar before for my brokeness, I don’t need to go up there. But sitting in my sit there was something pressing me to go to the altar. And I kept thinking about my choices in how I tend to choose the guys I allow into my life. For a moment, I thought back to 2 years ago when I can honestly say I was truly broken emotionally after having to break a strong hold of being emotionally attached to someone I wasn’t meant to be with. I said to myself, I can’t still be “broken” over that and operating in my pain, that was so long ago and I felt like I’d let that go.

I had gone through my phase where I was angry and revengeful (without even realizing that’s what it was) and reached a dead-end only to realize I’d done more damage to myself than the other person I was trying to get back at. Long story short,  I’d finally forgiven that person and moved on.  The trick is, although the symptoms of pain were gone emotionally, mentally there was still something off. Hence why every guy I’ve been involved with since then it seems the same issue keeps happening. “Different guy, same scenario.”

The Lord has been truly working on me in this area of my life, and he’s been showing me multiple things I need to fix. But today when I went to the altar, I asked God was I still broken somewhere deep down inside and not aware of it. It was at the altar he revealed to me that I have been picking guys out of my pain. It’s not so much an emotional thing now, but a mental thing. The whole idea of how I perceive a relationship to be. For me relationships had always been about finding another person who’s going to care for me ,love me and be affectionate towards me. (All qualities that should be fulfilled in a relationship with God FIRST!) Now I understand there’s so much more to a relationship than simply having a “companion.” Being in a relationship requires maturity and responsiblity, not for yourself, but the other person. And how I’ve been operating in the last 2-3 years, I haven’t been receiving or giving this kind of quality.

Mentally I tell myself “this is what I want in a man..” but when it comes to actually finding the person I often settle because my mind continues to revert back to my original mindset with the guy from 2 years ago. Instead of looking for someone who actually meets my standards, I find people who cater to my dysfunction and I settle for the affection because it’s what’s pleasing to me RIGHT NOW. The true purpose of what God designed relationships for is so much deeper than us using other people to please out flesh’s desires.

So my challenge is that for the next guy who comes along, that I must truly evaluate the situation in a new light. I can’t look at this person with the same mindset about relationships I had 2 years ago.  I have to look at relationships with the mindset of God’s standards.  I must have faith in God’s standards, not my own. I can’t allow myself to settle because of the “right now”, but look past the temporal satisfaction.

A Dangerous Disposition

Lately, I find myself playing Russian Roulette with my faith. My will and my mind are truly fighting a battle against my spirit to get in full alignment with what God wants for me. I’ll know the right thing to do,  I’ll hear God’s word and think maybe this time I’ll get it together. But lately it seems like I can’t even stay saved for a week. By the time Tuesday or Wednesday gets here, it’s like I have forgotten what I heard Sunday. There’s something that’s not sinking in. There’s something in me still fighting against what God wants and I’m at the point I don’t even know WHY I’m fighting?! Especially considering I know that God only wants the best for me. God has brought me through so much and I know he didn’t bring me through, and save me for me to be how I used to be and to keep going in the same circles.  I often end up setting myself up for my own disappointment, instead of fully trusting God.

I know that where I am right now, is a very dangerous place to be. It’s a dangerous disposition to have the knowledge of Christ and still do what’s wrong.  Part of me is in constant rebellion. (particularly in one area of my life) I even find myself reading the Bible at times and nothing sinking in. It’s as if my will has created this brick wall and I’m blocking myself in, and essentially cutting myself off from God. My mind is my worst enemy and constantly it’s a struggle. I’m in a dangerous position, and it’s funny because I’ve been here before, where I’ve yet to learn how to get out of my own way. I only pray this time, that God doesn’t have to allow something drastic to happen in order to get my full attention. Last time he broke my knee, if I don’t line up soon, there’s no telling what the Lord might do to keep me saved. (I do know one thing, once God calls you, you’re his even when you don’t always get it right. And even when we’ve sort of given up on ourselves, God is still serious about keeping us saved for His purpose. He’s never done with us, no matter how many times we may try to leave him.)

 Romans7:15-19 (amplified Bible)

15 For I do not understand my own actions (I am baffled, bewildered). I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but do the very thing that I loathe (which my moral instincts condemn)

16 Now if I do (habitually) what is contrary to my desire, (that means that) I acknowledge and agree that the law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it

17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin (principle) which is in me and has possession of me

18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. (I have the intention and the urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out)

  19 For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do,but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do  are what I am ever doing.