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When it’s hard to obey

Recently I was having difficulty with a particular matter; there was something I felt the Lord wanted me to do, but I didn’t want to do it! Then today’s verse came to my mind: ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’.

As I thought about it, I realised that obedience is actually a form of sacrifice. When I choose to obey God in something I don’t like, I’m sacrificing what I want to do and choosing to obey God instead.

Sacrifice means giving up something I value. In today’s verse, God says that the sacrifice of obedience is what matters most to Him. When we use the word sacrifice, we often think of giving up material things or time. But obedience can be bigger than that. I may need to give up a behaviour, an activity or an attitude. It can be easier to sacrifice material goods and more difficult to sacrifice actions and behaviours.

But the value of a sacrifice is measured by how hard it is to make the sacrifice. Think about the poor widow who put two tiny coins into the temple treasury in Mark 12: 41-44. Jesus noticed it (how often I’m tempted to think He doesn’t notice) and He said she had given more than all the wealthy people who had put in much larger amounts. God weighs a sacrifice according to how much it costs us personally.

This is how He describes our sacrifices: `they are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God` (Philippians 4:18). Not forgetting that the Lord Jesus is the one we follow: `Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God` (Ephesians 5:2).

Sacrifices are hard, and obedience can be the hardest kind of sacrifice, but that also makes it the most fragrant and pleasing to God, who certainly does notice!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You so much for the huge sacrifice You made for me. I do want to please You. Please help me to obey You, even though it is hard. Thank You. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"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, NIV

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Today's Writer

Grace Bull is a member of the Ellel Ministries team, working in course development and the support of Ellel centres worldwide, having previously been a full-time GP (family doctor) for 15 years. Her passion is relationship with God and doing anything that will help other people to find that close relationship too.

Grace Bull


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