And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken then the fat of rams.
Obey. It's a word that isn't very popular in a society that has stressed "doing your own thing" since the 1960s! But, as we see in the Old Testament, people have always had a problem with obedience.
By nature most people don't like to be told what to do. They'd rather do it their way. It's no different when it comes to God and the Bible.
When I was younger I always wondered what God's Will for my life was. It used to drive me crazy. I would walk into a Christian bookstore and look for all kinds of books on the subject. The problem wasn't God, it was me! I was only interested in what I wanted, not what God wanted for me.
My attitude was keeping me from what was right in front of my eyes...the Bible! I read the Bible all the time, but I would convince myself that "that passage wasn't meant for Christians today" or "that was written for someone else."
I learned that God's Will for any Christian's life begins with obedience to God's Word. If we are not obeying God's Word, we are out of God's Will. The Bible is how God speaks to us today. Once we start to obey his Word, God will begin to reveal to us his plan for our lives.
Another way I was not obeying God was by shutting out his voice. Any Christian knows that when confronted by a situation which requires a moral decision the Holy Spirit which dwells in us gives us a quiet prodding in the right direction. If we are reading the Bible on a regular basis it's easy for us to know what's right and wrong. That makes the prodding of the Spirit more effective.
At the same time, we have Satan screaming at us to do the wrong thing. Of course we try to justify our decision. When I was a teenager I justified my decision to hang around non-Christians by saying to myself, "I can share Christ with them." Of course I didn't. Instead, they dragged me down to their level.
The right thing to do would have been to approach them on an individual basis and share God's plan of salvation with them. If I felt uncomfortable with this, I could have asked another more mature Christian to help me.
People will do anything to get away from obeying God. That's why we see so many Churches that do not preach the Gospel. It's easier for them to let people come in, sing a few songs, say a few holy-sounding words and leave unsaved. The gospel might "offend" some, so they leave it out!
Even some Christian Churches have gotten so far from God that they have no programs for soul-winning, do not teach people how to behave as Christians and have no impact on their Community. They have deteriorated into social clubs and dating services. They know that they are there, but the unsaved in their Community do not. Their baptism pools are as dry and empty as their sermons.
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