If obedience requires sacrifice, how is it that our sacrifices don’t necessarily prove our obedience?
Not much time is needed to answer this question based on my own life experiences. During Lent one year, I decided to give up chocolate. I figured that I could go ahead and knock out two birds with one stone! I could partake in the suffering of Christ and lose some of my sweet tooth at the same time; it would maybe even get three birds if I lost weight while I was at it, too. But let’s look at my attitude and motivation. Was giving up chocolate for 40 days a way to pursue God or my body image?… Who was glorified through that sacrifice: me or God?
For those of us who have been relying on the rituals of religion, this is a very frightening realization! After all, it just proves that God is not fooled by our empty actions or our empty offerings.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
– Isaiah 66:1-2 –
As the last post discussed, obedience does require sacrifice because we must give up things that keep us from obeying God. In this way, all of those sacrifices are made with the intention of drawing us closer to God and into the center of His presence and love. In this pursuit of God fueled by love from and for Him, there is no room for selfish ambition….
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1).
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him” (Isaiah 55:7)
Are you ready to return to the Lord with the greatest sacrifice? Are you willing to admit that all you have to bring are empty hands? Then come, come to the Lord…