Obedience Over Sacrifice

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-23).

For awhile I thought that I could earn the love of God through my 'works'. I thought that if I did everything right, if I was perfect, and if I did good deeds like giving to the homeless or making sure that I went to church every Sunday, that I would be seen righteous in the eyes of the Lord. Let me start by saying God's love is unconditional. It's not based on what we do. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less but also nothing we can do to make Him love us more. Righteousness is the perfect holiness of Christ. There are no works that we can perform to be seen as righteous but righteousness produces good works. A lot of what I was doing was "for show" and I was doing things God hadn't even led me to do. "Even when our good deeds seem to be performed from the purest motives, unless that motivation is to glorify the name of Jesus, those deeds are completely self-righteous and sinful" (Topher Haddox). What are your intentions behind your sacrifice? Are your sacrifices for God or self-righteousness? "Does the lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry" (1 Samuel 15:22-23). While righteous sacrifice is pleasing to God (Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 13:15) , obedience is evidence of faith. When we are obedient we prove our faith in God and our faith is evident through our obedience. When God gives us instructions, we are to be intentional with our actions and time because partial obedience is still disobedience. If God asks you to stop and pray with someone standing on the side of the road and you choose to give them money instead because you're not comfortable or confident enough to pray with them, that's disobedience. Vice versa, if God asks you to give someone standing on the side of the road money but you aren't sure what they would actually do with the money so you choose to pray with them instead, that's disobedience. In both scenarios you stopped and acknowledged the individual but in both scenarios you sacrificed based on what was comfortable instead of being obedient and trusting God. The word says that God's thought are not our thoughts and neither are His ways our ways. He would never ask you to do anything that would cause you harm. Trust Him because your obedience is not just for you. Someone else is depending on you to be obedient. What is God asking you to do in this season that you have not done or are delaying? Choose obedience.

Scripture References: Titus 1:16, 1 John 2:15-16, Isaiah 29:13, Isaiah 1:19, Exodus 23:22, Jeremiah 7:23

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for your unconditional love. I repent for the times I have been disobedient. I repent for putting my sacrifices before my obedience to you. I surrender to you now God. Help me to walk in obedience and trust that your ways are better than my ways, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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