Sacrifice, Or True Obedience?

August 11, 2013

So the huddles continue, and so does the jockeying for the limelight as each hopes that their kingdom might be the most appealing to any who are looking for a new experience. But is this really what Christ had in mind? Is this huddling, without follow-up practices, strenuous effort, and actual engagement really what He taught us to do? And does God really consider the polluted, rebellious, and spiritually adulterous people to be His true bride –just because they say they are? No. For it’s not about claims, but is instead about behavior and what is in the heart.

The Lord commanded us to go into all the world. He told us to be salt and light everywhere and to preach the Gospel to every person. He told us to teach everyone to obey Him. These things we are to do as the Body, the Bride, of Christ. Each one of us is a part of the whole. Though none of us can do all of it ourselves, or be everywhere, we each have an important job to do. If we have been seeking the Lord’s voice in His Word, our spirit will be stirred into action –action that may or may not yet be specific, but action that is driven by an overwhelming desire that souls must be saved –saved from their death-walk to eternal damnation.

This compulsion comes from the Spirit of God within us. For God Himself is the One who, because of His mercy and love, became the atoning sacrifice by which He freed everyone from their punishment for having committed treason, and through which He calls everyone to believe, repent, and come to Life. (John 12:32 // 2 Peter 3:9) Therefore, anyone who is filling himself up daily with God’s Spirit will very quickly be filled up with whatever is on God’s heart.

“But God hasn’t given me any specific instructions,” many people complain. Really? What is that called in God’s Word if not instructions? If people would read the Word of God they would begin to hear those instructions prodding their spirits to choose to do some specific actions. In fact, if no opportunities reveal themselves, the person eager to serve God will, nevertheless, soon jump up, and in the mighty power of the Spirit, call from the depths of his being, “God, send me!!!” And God’s answer will come, not likely in words, but by an overwhelming motivation to run out into the streets to find anyone and everyone that might be willing to be rescued from the darkness.

But, instead, what do a lot of huddlers do? They listen to each other rather than the Spirit, and so when the group decides to serve God this way or that way, some get excited, others sigh, most say okay, and then when the day comes around, a few show up while the rest remain elsewhere, doing whatever they please. But did God tell any of them to do any of it? Is God pleased with sacrifice He didn’t ask for?

Most of us know well the verse, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Sam. 15:22) Yet how prevalent is the neglect of this Truth! “But God, I gave 10% of my paycheck last month… But God, I went to church twice last month… But God, I helped that granny across the street… But God, I gave some of my old clothes to the charity barrel… But God, I’m going on a short-term mission trip… But God, I sing in the choir every Sunday… But God, last week I spent 3 hours each day in your Word, in worship, and in prayer… But God, I baked a pie for the charity bake sale…” and on the reasonings go. However, none of it impresses God if the actions are being done as rationalizations to excuse disobedience to what God is really requiring of someone.

“I told you to forgive,” God might have commanded. “And you haven’t yet done so.” Or, “I told you to visit your elderly, handicapped neighbor twice a week, give her your time and comfort, and clean her house once a week without charge.” Or, “I told you to be a missionary, not a pastor.” If God has prodded us in one direction and we go a different direction, we are no better than Jonah who deserved to die in the watery depths. If God has called us to do this and we do that, we remain rebels.

God will almost always first lead us into doing that which is uncomfortable, awkward, and very unglamorous. He does this to watch our heart –if it is after His glory, or after our own glory. If He finds us unfaithful, we may lose the inheritance that would have otherwise been ours. (Heb. 12:15,16) Contrary to popular “Christian” opinion, not many chances are given, and often just one. (v. 17) But, if God finds us faithful, and if He sees that our motivation comes from a heart that is fully devoted to Him and the salvation of others, the Lord will do wonders for us, in us, and through us. This is the exciting life, this is true life, this is His Life. And we are invited to participate and reap the rewards.

So what does the constant huddling do to further these ends? Often very little, or even the exact opposite of what God has instructed. And that, God’s Word tells us, is the rebellion that is as detestable as the sin of divination. (1 Sam. 15:23)

with love,

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