God gave King Saul an assignment that he didn’t fully carry out. He was told to wipe out everyone and everything belonging to the Amalekites. He took out the people, but told the prophet/judge Samuel that he kept the best of the animals “to sacrifice to the Lord your God.”
Samuel said, “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 Sam. 15:22) In other words, it’s more important for us to listen to and do what Jesus says than it is to do our religious duty by having our “devos” and going to church on Sunday.
I like what a Jewish Midrash states, “It’s better to be like God than to commune with God.” God doesn’t need our religiosity. He wants our heart. He doesn’t need us to do anything for Him, but wants us to do everything with Him. He doesn’t want us to keep some list of behaviors but wants obedience out of our love for Him.
If you are going through the motions of doing Christian things, stop. You’re like King Saul, who was told that what he thought was obedience was actually rebellion. Jesus wants us in His word and to gather with His people because we intend to listen for the truths needed to replace the lies in our head. Our worn out character will be replaced with His eternal character as this is done. When His hold on us increases the hold of our drugs of choice decreases, which equates to victory!
“S”et Free Nowww
I was asked a most interesting question. “When we put our faith in Jesus, we’re forgiven. After that, are we on our own?” The question arose as to what is the proper behavior for a child of God.
I took this person to Hebrews 10:14 and read, “By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” I asked, “Is this a contradiction or a truth to live by?” The passage says we are both perfect and are in the process of being made perfect at the same time.
The moment we place our faith in what Jesus did for us – the sacrifice – we are made and seen by God as forever perfect. Yet, we can still make mistakes as become more like Jesus. In the process of being made perfect, God knows all the mistakes we will ever make and still loves us as His perfect children. He’s telling us to stop focusing proper behavior or doing the right thing. Instead, He wants us to love Him by listening to and doing what Jesus says each day, which in the end will make us like Him. Don’t just say no to something, say yes to who Jesus is today.
“S”et Free Nowww
“Wherever we turn in the church of God, there is Jesus. He is the beginning, middle and end of everything to us…. There is nothing good, nothing holy, nothing beautiful, nothing joyous which He is not to His servants. No one need be poor, because, if he chooses, he can have Jesus for his own property and possession. No one need be downcast. So if you are ever in a room, where things are getting a little heated, and you start to notice a smell…be sure that your words, personality, and actions are in lockstep with the teachings, and example of our Lord Jesus Christ., for Jesus is the joy of heaven, and it is His joy to enter into sorrowful hearts. We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more.” Frederick Fabre
S“e”t Free Nowww
I find it interesting how God defines the believer in Galatians 3:26. Paul writes, “You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” No problem so far, but verse 28 might cause you to pause and think. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“Wait a minute. We stop being male and female when we come to faith?” No. I still check the male box when I’m filling out an application. What the Spirit is saying is to stop defining yourself by these qualifiers. What’s more important, being a child of God or being Jewish or a Greek? What affects your walk more, being a child of God or being male or female? What determines your attitude, being a child of God or whether or not you’re a slave?
God is telling us to look beyond these labels because they can be lousy excuses for why we take our drugs of choice. “This is what real men do.” “I’m a woman who feels the way I do. Get over it.” “My boss is a jerk and doesn’t deserve to be loved.” How you describe yourself will affect your attitude and behavior. Want to get closer to Jesus? Filter out all unbiblical qualifiers and start thanking Him for and emphasizing the fact that you’re God’s child.
“S”et Free Nowww
Scientifically, cold doesn’t exist. It’s merely the absence of heat. It’s also a scientific fact that darkness doesn’t exist either as it’s merely the absence of light.
Biblically, sin is the absence of God as sin is about us doing our own thing for ourselves. We become so full of ourselves that we crowd God out of the situation.
If God is absent from any situation then so is love, joy, and peace as He is all those things. Let that sink in. When we choose to put down our biblical tools that keep us close to Jesus, we’re choosing to take love, joy and peace out of the equation.
How does it feel when you do that? If we’re honest, we’d have to say life really stinks. The Bible says that we are “seated with the Father in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6) So right now we’re in the presence of God where all the “good stuff” we desire is found. The next time you think about putting your tools down, ask yourself, “Do I really want to get out of the warmth of God’s presence?”
“S”et Free Nowww