Monday, October 19, 2020

Why obedience?

“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” 1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV 

Saul had been commanded to utterly destroy all the Amalekites and their cattle. Instead of doing that, he preserved the king and allowed the Israelites to take the best of the oxen and sheep. When called to account for this, he declared that he was planning to offer a sacrifice to God—but Samuel immediately replied that sacrifices were no excuse for an act of direct rebellion. Today’s Scripture should be printed in letters of gold and hung before the eyes of our present idolatrous generation—people who are very fond of their own forms of worship but utterly neglectful of the laws of God. Always remember that to stay strictly on the path of your Savior’s command is better than any outward form of religion; and to listen to His teachings with an attentive ear is better than bringing the fat of rams or any other precious thing to lay on His altar. If you are failing to keep the least of Christ’s commands toward His disciples, I pray you will no longer be disobedient. All the pretensions you make of nearness to your Master, all the devout actions you might perform, are no compensation for disobedience. “To obey,” even in the slightest and smallest thing, “is better than sacrifice,” however magnificent. Leave behind your self-directed worship and service—the first thing God requires of His child is obedience, and even if you give your body to be burned and all your goods to feed the poor (1 Corinthians 13:13), without obeying the Lord’s precepts, all your formalities yield no profit. It is good to be as teachable as a little child. But it is a much more blessed thing, when you have been taught a lesson, to carry it out to the letter. How many esteem their churches and leaders but refuse to obey the word of the Lord! My soul, do not come into their disobedience. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Even today people, all people, want accolades for what pithy things they sacrificed for this or that.  Everyone, at some point in their lives, wants to hear of how well they did in giving for someone else's needs or wants.  There have been whole television shows on the giving of gobs of time, money and talent to helping others...not because of the need but because of the ratings.  Be real here, if it's on television, ratings have something to do with the 10's of thousands of dollars spent per minute to be seen. 

This may sound apathetic in its message, but the truth goes all the way back to Cain.  He wanted recognition more than he wanted acknowledged for his offering. 

Both Christians and non-Christians can live lives that appear to have elements of a Godly life.  The truth is in the words of Jesus.  Go and understand what this means, I desire obedience not sacrifice. 

Saul let position and worldly status become more important than obedience to God.  An entire generation or two died in the wilderness due to not obeying the Word of God.  As Spurgeon wrote as well, not obeying the Word of God cost Moses dearly. 

Oh so many people whine about obedience even when they are obeying.  They want to do the minimum without giving up their hold on the things of this world. 

When we all give an account of what we did in this life the degree of obedience will be highest on that accounting.  

I would be lying if I said I wasn't sorely tempted to live like my mind wants me to. As the world does.  Load up the credit cards and deal with it later in life.  To give up on tithing and live it up.  Those are real temptations.  Yet where does obedience fit with thinking like that?

To be truthful, God has blessed my Wife and I far more than my mind has the capacity to grasp.  My mind is blown.  From the smallest part to the biggest that I am capable of seeing to understand, God's blessings overflow.  It's not to say that we still don't have needs, because we do, it means we still need Him.  This blog's audience blows my mind.  Never in my lifetime would I ever dream of writing and yet see it go to such lengths in the world.  In possessions, God continues to bless in providing us with things to help others.  
To be 100% honest, I don't want to be rich if it means that I live as if I don't need my God! 

It comes and will come through obedience.  The part that trips many up is Salvation begins it all. Without receiving the Holy Spirit, obedience means nothing in the day of accounting.  You have to receive Jesus as your Savior to begin to understand what obedience really is about.  

Look at what Jesus says. Many. In Heaven's terms this isn't just a few, it means probably millions if not billions.  Many will say to Jesus did we not do this in your name and that in your name?  Without being saved...He says to depart from Him for He never knew them. 

Being good isn't enough. Being a nice person isn't enough.  You could be born, be raised up in a fantastic home, go and give of yourself all your life, die without Christ, you will not see Heaven. Those people are among those Jesus was talking to. 

Obedience begins with Salvation.  

After Salvation comes the changes of the heart towards the things of God.  The letting go of selfishness.  The beginning of true obedience. 

So many millions, if not billions, think that their paltry Sunday morning show up or late Saturday night show up to Church is more than enough to give to God in their week. That they don't really need to be reading their Bible.  That reading books other than the Bible for help in living life is more important or -  sad to say - equal to reading the Bible.  

Look at your level of obedience.  Are you more afraid of what you will lose than to believe God in what you will gain in obeying Him? 

My obedience isn't where it needs to be.  I know enough to know that much.  I know of Pastors who will tell you the same of themselves. 

It doesn't mean that you will lose out.
It doesn't mean that you will miss opportunities. 
It doesn't mean what the world is trying to convince you it means. 

Obedience, for the right reasons, means real obedience to God. He will honor you and I for that. 

This world is perishing.  At best it has a short while over 1,007 years left to it.  

Huh? Yes. We have from this very hour til the Rapture of the Church, plus 7 years of the Tribulation plus the 1,000 year reign of Christ.  That's it.

What will you show in your finite time on this world of your true obedience to God?

Is your sports, movies, television, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, everything else more important than obedience to God?

Is your life being lived for you rather than for God?  Scripture says that what we do should be done as unto the Lord.  Colossians 3.

Are you saved?  That's the beginning of obedience.  Are you saved and obeying?  Having the right to enter Heaven is only the beginning.  Obedience shows others the way to Salvation in Christ. 

If you're thinking that you're good enough.  My friend, Hell is filling up with people who thought they were good enough for Heaven.  Hell is full of people who will all tell you to stay away from there.  Hell is full of people who would like a second chance to live life and to get it right.  Hell is full of people who have absolutely no problem knowing that the word of God is right, true, and real.  The anguishing cry in Hell is to God to change His mind about them. 

You still have a chance to choose to obey.  Once your life is over that chance is gone. 

To the believer, your chance to obey is always opportune. You can come back to Christ and be restored.  The time is now to obey and to truly live. 

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