Sacrifice.  That is what Christianity is all about.  The Bible teaches us to take up our crosses daily to follow Jesus.  (Luke 9:23 )  Jesus even said that there is no greater love than giving up your life for your friends.  (John 15:13 )  We are supposed to sacrifice our desires, our resources, and even our lives for the cause of Christ.  There is no way around it.

However, the Bible teaches that sacrifice is not necessarily the most important aspect of our faith. 

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.  (1 Samuel 15:22 NLT)

Obedience is better than sacrifice.  Doing what we are told is more important than giving things up.  In the Old Testament, sacrifices were often done to atone for sins, or to make up for a lack of obedience.  According to Samuel, though, it is more pleasing to God if we try harder to be obedient in the first place. 

I really don’t believe that Christians, in general, are intentionally sinful.  In fact, I believe that most of our disobedient behavior comes from the lack of being intentional with our thoughts, words, and actions.  Why is that?  Because we take full advantage of the grace of God and the forgiveness that comes with His love.  We know that we will be forgiven. 

Sometimes we even dismiss our disobedience because of our sacrifice.  Some Christians believe that since they do so much work around the church or in the community, that they get a little more grace than everybody else. 

Regardless of the reason, we are far too careless with our obedience…or lack thereof.  No matter how much we sacrifice or how many “works” we do, it is much more important that we follow the commands in the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  We all need to stop being so complacent and taking our forgiveness for granted.  We must be obedient.  If we are, everything else will take care of itself.

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