Friday, May 22, 2015
To Obey is Better than Sacrifice
Recently, I've been pondering my impact upon the world and wondering how fruitful it has been. Not for pride or vanity's sake, but for the simple fact that I seem to live two lives. Online, I'm an outspoken Christian, full of vim and vigor, blogging and Facebooking about our glorious King. And yet at home in my personal life, I am more reserved and less in-your-face. Of course, I do sing fairly loud to my Christian music in the kitchen, but that's beside the point.
I took the issue to God and asked Him if I was doing it wrong. Are people confused when they read my fiery posts and then encounter shy little me in real life? Am I genuine in my beliefs?
Many in my life have denounced Christ, so for the most part, I stay quiet in my faith so as to respect their beliefs. I figure if they're interested, they'll ask or read my posts online. I have shared Christ and discussed doctrine with a few of them, but life goes on as it always has - the sun rises, the sun sets, and another day has passed.
I don't often make it to church every Sunday and I don't always give to the needy, but I try my hardest to live with my heart wide open. I teach my children about Christ and they witness first-hand my prayer life and how often I study. I buy many books on theology and sermons, as there's a drive in me to learn and know and share with others. This is likely why I have the outlet of posting online, because I don't have that outlet in my day-to-day.
The Lord has been showing me it is the state of the heart that truly matters to Him. A Christian life is marked with good works, however, to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). How interesting to think we get so sidetracked into believing we must make sacrifices for God to be true Christians, yet our Lord says He cherishes obedience to His commands above our sacrifices. Why is that? Well, anyone can make a sacrifice. Consider the offerings of Cain and Abel. God accepted Abel's offering, but not Cain's. They both made a sacrifice, but it was only Abel who pleased God (Genesis 4:3-8). It is the one who has a heart of love for their God who will obey His commands (John 14:15). And what are Christ's Two Great Commands? Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-31).
I strive to obey Yeshua's Commands to my greatest ability. I know I often fail. But God sees every little detail of what I do for Him. I am reminded that the beauty the Lord God esteems is a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). These are quite precious to Him, far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10).
It is my hope those around me would say a "quiet and gentle spirit" is who I am. Catch me around dinnertime, however, and it might be a different story! I am well-known for my evening grumblies. When the blood sugar is low, I stomp around the house like Godzilla. In fact, my kids and hubby affectionately call me Momzilla when hunger strikes. But as a rule, I don't like to be contrary. I hate conflicts. If you happen to be over when dinner is ready, grab a plate. If you need a place to sleep, here's a blanket. If you have a boo boo, bring it in for hugs and kisses. Heh, I'm a mom, what can I say? And I believe in the catch-and-release method whenever I find a bug in my kitchen. Why should I kill it when it's just looking for food?
I realized during prayer that what haunted me was the Great Commission. Christ told us to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). While I've been busy online, have I neglected my own personal mission field? That's when the Lord opened my eyes. We are to be lights for Christ in the world. As women, we are to teach our children and younger women in the Lord (Titus 2:3-4). If our spouses don't believe, we are to be of good conduct so as to win them without a word (1 Peter 3:1). Is this what I do?
All my children are believers and have a tender love for Jesus. Some may show it more than others, but being children, I wouldn't expect them to be as sold out as I am. It takes time to mature in the faith. Anyone who walks into my house cannot deny that a Christian lives here. My walls are adorned with Christ, Scripture verses are quoted in the planter, and random books on theology are scattered about. I blast my Christian music, either in my kitchen or in my car, and my afore-mentioned singing cannot be missed by anyone within a half mile radius. I never take off my cross necklace, and I even have Christian tattoos.
My real life is anything but hidden under a basket. God has shown me that having a quiet and gentle spirit does not mean one is neglecting the Great Commission, and the point of this post is to bring peace to those who might be in the same boat as I am. Ultimately, my goal is to disciple my children as well as make disciples online. I regularly speak to my older girls about marriage, motherhood, and the Messiah. (Oo, alliteration!) I am annotating my entire Bible in order to leave some wisdom for my son when I pass on. My 6 y/o knows more theology than your average baby Christian, as her penmanship lessons are Bible verses. I do honor the Great Commission in my home. This is where my efforts should be focused.
While my mind might be grieved that I don't do more, give more, or say more, the Lord has spoken to my heart and told me I'm exactly where He wants me to be. I don't live two lives, because my online presence is an overflow of what's already in my heart (John 7:38). My real life is likewise an overflow of my heart, as I train up my children in the way they should go. I do what I do online in order to share what I learn and study with others who are willing to listen. There is no double standard or hypocrisy in my beliefs. I am honoring Titus 2:3-4. Like Mary of Bethany, I am sitting at Yeshua's feet.
And in all honesty, the Lord works through me in the "works He's prepared in advance for me to do" (Ephesians 2:10). And this is what I believe it means to share the yoke of our lives with Yeshua. His yoke is easy and His burden is light because we simply shine -- we tell the world the Good News, and He takes care of the rest!
So be encouraged, my dear sisters in Christ. If you have a quiet and gentle spirit, do not be too hard on yourselves that you're not actively evangelizing or doing great and marvelous things for the Lord. If you have an obedient heart toward God's commands and a thirst for Yeshua Himself, He naturally works out of the overflow of your heart. We scatter the seed. The Holy Spirit waters and cultivates. If you train up your children to follow Christ, if you counsel your younger friends, family, or daughters in the issues of life and marriage from a Godly perspective, you are doing exactly what the Lord has called you to do. Cover everything you do with a blanket of prayer, and trust in the Lord with all your heart.