Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Obedience vs. Sacrifice

Author Biography

    Lina's worked in CBN's Prayer Center since 2009. She's a mother and grandmother whose favorite Scripture is Zephaniah 3:17. She says CBN is like a second family to her.

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Lina Johnson - Prayer Center Coach

I drove into my church parking lot and looked in my rearview mirror to see my pastor pulling in behind me. God had instructed me to share a Scripture with him that day. God told me, “Wait until I tell you to go to the church.” Little did I know that Pastor had decided to take the day off. When God said, “Time to go,” then I drove to the church.

As I walked up to the door, I said, “Pastor, I’d like to share something with you.”

He replied, “Sure, I just need to run up to my office first.”

Once he returned, we sat down in the foyer. I then shared all that God had shown me in His Word. Pastor thanked me, got up, and left the church to enjoy his day off.

Wow! God knew the perfect time for me to arrive at the church.

King Saul was not as good at following directions. He was supposed to wait for the prophet Samuel to arrive before offering a sacrifice. However, Saul did not wait. He saw the fear in his troops, and it became his own fear.

First Samuel 13:8-14 tells us the story of how Saul decided not to wait for the prophet Samuel to arrive as instructed, but instead went ahead and offered the sacrifice to God. Under the circumstances, this seemed right. Saul was doing what was required. However, God’s command was not followed. Saul did not have God’s authority to make that sacrifice.

We’ve probably heard it said, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” This comes from 1 Samuel 15:22.

But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” (NLT)

This same theme is found in the New Testament as well. Most of us know and have prayed James 4:7,

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We all know this Scripture, but what about the beginning of the verse?

So humble yourselves before God.

True biblical humility is yielding to God’s plan rather than your own. It is the opposite of pridefully thinking you do not need God.

The NIV translates it this way:

Submit yourselves, then, to God.

Submitting is not only obeying. It is also trusting fully the one in authority.

If we are walking in pride, doing things our way, we cannot and do not have the authority that comes from God to resist the devil. You must humbly submit to the one in authority to act in their authority. This is why 1 Samuel 15:23 tells us:

“Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”

To put it simply, if we deliberately disobey God, we may end up obeying the devil. Let’s repent and submit ourselves to God. Jesus paid the highest price to defeat the devil in our lives. This way we can each hear God and walk in His timing and His calling for us.

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