When it comes to obedience, I think that it is often easier to sacrifice. Obedience usually requires a long-term commitment! For example, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV). It is not a one-time-only choice and you’re done, kind of thing.
Think about the last time that God asked you to do something. He wanted you to give him control over a certain area of your life, or take a leap of faith. Maybe even do something for someone who you do not particularly like? Jesus said, “Those who accept my commandments and obeys them are the ones who love me…” John 14:21 (NLT)
Instead of obedience, what have you given him? Did you throw a little more money into the offering plate? Or volunteer an extra week in nursery? Or even did nothing?
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice…” 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
Take a moment to pretend that someone close to you has asked you to do something for them. But instead of doing what they have asked you, you hand them money and/or do something else that you think they might want done. I don’t know about you, but I would feel hurt, like you didn’t really care about what I said! I imagine God feels the same way.
Part of a Family
There is a popular quote that people like to use now a days that says something like this: “Friends come and go, but family is forever.”
I imagine Jesus’ response would be this: “‘…Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’ And he stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.'” Matthew 12:48-50 (NKJV)
Are you a part of God’s family?
“And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:3-6