by Bill Rudge
Throughout the Old and New Testaments we meet people who offered sacrifices and demonstrated the appearance of spirituality. However, God labels many of them as lukewarm, disobedient, stiff-necked, stubborn, rebellious or apostate. Why? Because God is more concerned with the attitudes of the heart than with outward displays. God desires a people who are obedient and faithful.
King Saul learned the hard way that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Following Saul’s lame excuse for only partially obeying the Lord’s command, the prophet Samuel rebuked him with the following words:
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice… (1 Samuel 15:22).
It is very important that we not only talk our Christianity, but that we walk it. Titus 1:16 states:
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him….
All through the Scriptures we meet those who were tempted, tested, and confronted by obstacles. Some disobeyed, rebelled, and turned from the Lord. Others remained faithful – no matter the cost. Those who disobeyed suffered the consequences; immediately or in the not-so-distant future. Those who obeyed received God’s blessing and ultimate victory.
On Talking Back
When I was in gymnastics and my instructor would say, “Billy, climb the rope to the gym’s ceiling. Do a round off and several backhand springs in a row on the mat. Get on the trampoline and do a double back flip.” I did not say, “I don’t feel like doing that today.” I did it!
When going out for football and the coach would say, “Hit the sled and keep hitting it until I tell you to stop. Run the ropes. Take five laps.” I did not say, “Well coach, I am not in the mood to do that today.” I did it!
When, in karate, my instructor said, “Do knuckle pushups.” I did knuckle pushups. When he said, “You, Rudge! Come here. I want to use you for an uke and beat on you for awhile.” I did not say, “Not today, Sensei. Maybe next time.” No, I stepped forward and let him demonstrate strikes and kicks on me. When I was told, “Lay down and put this potato on your chest so I can slice it in half with this sword.” I did not say, “That’s a bad idea.” I obeyed. When he said spar and fight, I sparred and fought!
Should I obey any less the King of kings and Lord of lords, the God who created me, the God who came and died for me, who bodily rose from the dead, and who is coming again to rule and reign for all eternity?
When His Word and Spirit tell me to do something, how much more should I obey without talking back or whining or complaining or making excuses? I do not say, “Well, if I feel like it, Lord,” or “Maybe I will think about it,” or “I don’t know if I want to do that.” I obey! That is what it means to be submitted to Christ’s Lordship.
But is this biblical? In Luke 6:46 Jesus asks:
Why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?
In John 14:15, 24 Jesus said:
If you love Me, you will obey what I command. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.
In Matthew 7:21 Jesus states:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
1 John 2:3, 6 says:
We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.
And the manner in which Jesus walked was in humility and obedience (Philippians 2:8).
Excerpted from Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ which is being expanded for its third edition.