Sunday, November 8, 2015

Obedience and our love for God

“1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 (NRSV)

“22 And Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed than the fat of rams” 1 Samuel 15:22 NRSV

One great theme, arguably the greatest theme of the Bible, is the sovereignty of a loving God over the entire universe. God created everything to in order to worship Him. There are many scriptures in the Bible recounting the praise and worship of a God much greater than man can comprehend. Psalms 99-100 and Revelation 19 are among the scriptures that deal with the praise and worship of God on a grand scale.

The scriptures above talk about obedience and worship (sacrifice and praise). When we think about obedience, we often think about a list of rules that we need to follow in order for God to view us as good. Actually, God views our obedience in a different way. According to Romans 12:1, we are to present our bodies (our physical being, including our thoughts, actions) as living sacrifices. Obedience consists of putting all of our spiritual and physical efforts toward pleasing God. When we do this, God delights in our effort.

When we strive to obey rules, our intention is to make ourselves look good. I am ashamed to admit that I have, on more than one occasion, given a tithe to church with the thoughts of how I would rather be spending the money. My intention to give the tithe was not to praise God for the bounty He has provided for me, but to fulfill a self-imposed duty so I could feel good about myself, or that my husband or family would be proud of me. This kind of obedience has never worked well for me. However, each time that I have given a tithe with a song of praise in my heart for the blessings that God have given for me, the joy I feel always surpasses any enjoyment I may have gotten from spending the money on something I wanted.

Our obedience is the greatest praise that we can give to God because it is what God desires from us. He desires our love and companionship. Obedience provides an opening for God to pour His blessings into our hearts.