1.28.2023

Christian Dating:

 


Does Technology Help or Hurt Dating?


“I haven’t met anyone in a while, and I haven’t been on a date in a couple of years. I’ve thought about trying a dating site — what do you think?”

Having ministered among college and post-college men and women for more than a decade, I’ve heard some version of this question again and again. Each time, it’s clearer to me that Christians today are increasingly dating in a different world from the one I did (and I’ve been married only since 2015). Many experts have already observed the obvious: dating (like so much of life) is changing rapidly because technology is regularly revolutionizing everyday life. And dating websites aren’t the only flashpoint.

  • “A guy from church started texting me. What should I do?”
  • “She hasn’t texted me back in a week. What does that mean?”
  • “He liked a couple of my old posts on Instagram. Does that mean he’s interested?”
  • “She started following me yesterday. Should I ask her out?”
  • “She still uses Facebook. Should I be worried?”
  • “My friend found someone on an app. Should I try that?”

You’ve likely heard other questions (or asked them yourself). If you had to ask all the questions in one, you might ask, Does technology help or hurt Christian dating?

Blessings of Technology

As we ask about the potential benefits and dangers of technology in dating, I need to say up front that technology was a massive blessing in my wife’s and my story. We met at a wedding and dated long-distance for two whole years. Some 95 percent or more of our interactions before our wedding were made possible by technology. Our honeymoon was the longest stretch we’d ever spent in the same city.

Three days after we met in Los Angeles, I flew 1,911 miles away to Minneapolis. Why didn’t the relationship end right there? Because she had acquiesced and given me a special nine-digit code (a much longer story), which I could then type into a small plastic box and immediately hear her voice anytime anywhere, even from faraway snow-covered hills. Fifty years ago, every phone was attached to a wall. One hundred fifty years ago, you couldn’t make a phone call. And that’s to say nothing of the opportunities of social media and instant messaging (or cars and planes, for that matter!). Imagine dating in a world where you could talk only face to face with people nearby or else write long letters (which might take weeks or months to be delivered).

Were it not for planes, phones, and Wi-Fi, my wife and I probably wouldn’t be married. And with technology, long-distance dating wasn’t only possible, but came with its own advantages and benefits. So I thank God for technology, and specifically for how technology can serve dating and marriage.

Hurdles of Technology

Now, someone might read about our story and conclude technology is all blessing and no curse when it comes to dating. The reality, however, is that the blessings (which are real) come with equally real dangers and consequences — and all the more so in the pursuit of marriage.

“We were made to know and be known in real time and shared space.”

While technology makes many aspects of relationships easier (or even possible!), it can make other aspects more challenging. Probably the highest hurdle of technology is achieving and maintaining meaningful levels of relationship. We were made to know and be known in real time and shared space, to experience the kind of love and joy that’s possible only through physical presence (2 John 12Romans 1:11–12). Technology can effectively (and even beautifully) complement that kind of togetherness, but it can’t replace it. We’re learning this again and again and again (for evidence, revisit the heartaches and challenges of the last three years).

For sure, technology allows us to have and keep many more relationships (or, in this case, allows us to “meet” many more men or women whom we might date), but technology struggles to create meaningful relationships where there wasn’t one already. Even how we talk about technology confirms its less-than-ideal role in our relationships: “I’ve tried everything else and come up empty, so I’m thinking about trying a website.” Technology connects more dots over larger distances, but the dots are unavoidably fuzzier (no matter how high-definition our cameras become). We simply can’t get to know people virtually the way we can in person (I mean, we call them virtual interactions). I would argue, then, that technology is weakest in what dating relationships need most: clarity and depth.

People pursuing marriage want to get to know each other well enough to decide whether to make an exclusive, lifelong, for-better-or-worse vow. So how well is technology helping us make that decision? Well, it depends on how we use it.

Two Kinds of Technology

I recently stumbled onto a new way to see both the benefits and the hurdles of technology in the pursuit of marriage. In his book The Life We’re Looking For, Andy Crouch helpfully differentiates between two kinds of technology: devices and instruments.

Devices, he says, are kinds of technology that discourage human effort and eventually replace human labor altogether (the furnace, the phonograph, the Roomba). Instruments, on the other hand, encourage and extend human effort and ingenuity (the bicycle, the piano, the telescope). Here’s how Crouch describes instruments:

There is a kind of technology that is easily distinguished from magic — a kind that involves us more and more deeply as persons rather than diminishing and sidelining us. This kind of technology elevates and dignifies human work, rather than reducing human beings to drones that do only the work the robots have not yet automated. It does not give us effortless power but instead gives us room to exert ourselves in deeper and more rewarding ways. (134)

As he goes on to observe (and this is where the distinction becomes hyper-relevant for dating), our phones can be devices or instruments, depending on how we use them. “With the right software it can become the ultimate instrument for any number of exercises of personal heart, soul, mind, and strength. Or, of course, it can serve as the ultimate device” (146). Our phones can encourage and extend our effort and ingenuity, or they can discourage and replace them. And perhaps never more so than in how we woo and date one another.

Two Kinds of Men

One question we could ask about technology and dating, then, would be, Is the way we’re using technology — phone calls, text messaging, social media, dating websites and apps — encouraging and extending the right kind of effort? Or is it rewarding (or at least compensating for) laziness? And while this question can go both directions, I have men particularly in mind, because I believe God wants men to bear a greater responsibility for leadership and initiative in marriage, beginning with dating. In the hands of the right kind of men, technology can strengthen and multiply blessings in a relationship. In the wrong hands, however, it can become a relational curse.

So when does technology help in Christian dating? When it helps us (again, men in particular) rise to meet the demands of love, rather than helping us avoid them. Technology helps when it draws the right kind of risk-taking initiative out of a man. And it helps when it serves what happens when we’re face to face (like we’re meant to be in relationships). Technology hurts when it replaces initiative and displaces presence.

The kind of man who uses technology well in dating wears the selflessness of Philippians 2:3–4, even when he’s online: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” He wears the intentionality of 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” He wears the humility of 1 Peter 5:5: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.” Above all, he puts on love (Colossians 3:14), even when shielded by a keyboard.

Dating Devices or Instruments?

Let’s try to apply these principles to some real technology today. For single women, how do the men pursuing you use their phones?

Take social media, for example. Do they use social media to flirt and signal interest in order to avoid the possibility of rejection (device)? Or are their interactions with you marked by honest and intentional initiative (instrument)? Is their general presence online the typical exhibition of impulsiveness, laziness, and self-gratification (what social media companies prey on)? Or is it refreshingly selfless, considerate, self-controlled, and valuable to others (instrument)? I’m not encouraging you to over-analyze every post or like, but on the whole, what patterns do you see?

Or what about dating apps or websites? Do their profiles exaggerate their better qualities and hide their weaknesses (device)? Or are their profiles refreshingly honest, modest, and Godward (instrument)? When they call, are most of your conversations meaningful and beneficial (instrument)? Or are they shallow, meandering, and self-indulgent (device)? Are their texts consistently thoughtful and caring (instrument) — or listless and cavalier (device)? Do they text in ways they wouldn’t speak to you face to face (device)?

We could ask dozens of more questions. In short, are phones drawing the right kind of effort and intentionality out of the men interested in you? Men, you can ask some of the same questions of women you’re interested in, but over time men will inevitably (and rightly) set the tone in relationships. Technology can help relationships, and technology can hurt them. Unfortunately, many naively assume the former, while living the latter.

What Do You Want from Dating?

Another good way to assess technology’s role in your dating might be to ask, What do you really want from dating? For what it’s worth, this question is a good one for how we use technology in every area of life. Far too often we assume technology is helping us achieve what’s important to us. Often technology promises to help us, and convinces us it’s helping, but only ends up distracting and undermining us.

“Technology can facilitate clarity or impede it; it can accelerate clarity or slow it.”

When it comes to dating, then, what do you want to accomplish? Have you even thought of dating in those terms? As I’ve said elsewhere, the great prize in marriage is Christ-centered intimacy; the great prize in dating is Christ-centered clarity. Technology can be a wonderful vehicle to that kind of clarity (I know, because airplanes and phones helped bring my wife and me together). Technology can also be an obscurer, hiding concerns and dangers we would easily spot face to face. Technology can facilitate clarity or impede it; it can accelerate clarity or slow it. So, are the ways you use technology in dating helping you see each other more clearly? Over time, are your calls and texts and posts and video chats helping you each decide whether you want to marry?

If you want the short-lived, adrenaline-filled pleasure of thin, low-commitment romance, technology has very effectively reproduced those relationships by the millions. Billion-dollar companies are wholly devoted to this kind of “love.” You’re just a few quick swipes from your next fling. If, however, you’re looking for a deeper, safer, more durable, more satisfying, more Christ-exalting love — for the kind of holy intimacy and security only a covenant in Christ can provide — if you want to live out the mystery of the gospel in a lifelong union (Ephesians 5:32), if you want to see and enjoy more of God in the harrowing and thrilling trenches of marriage, then technology may still help you, but only when it complements and encourages what can happen face to face.


............

 is a writer and managing editor at desiringGod.org. He’s the author of Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness & Dating. He graduated from Bethlehem College & Seminary. He and his wife, Faye, have three children and live in Minneapolis.








1.19.2023

How to Encourage Spiritual Habits in Kids

 




I took my Bible to college. I think.

Well, I meant to anyway. I was saved. In fact, I had grown up in the church. From as early as I can remember, we sat in the pew twice on Sundays and on Wednesday nights. I remember VBS, memorizing Scripture, favorite Sunday school teachers, rededicating my life as a teen, and what I thought were life-changing youth camps.

But I don’t remember opening my Bible in college. When exams were giving me ulcers and boyfriends were pressuring me for intimacy, I don’t remember ever opening it. I don’t really remember praying, either. I think we went to chapel a few times in my freshman year. But then classes started and life got in the way.

If you’ve been a reader long, I don’t have to tell you where this story becomes a train wreck. But it did. Two husbands, four kids, and a heap of brokenness later, I found my Bible.

My story is not unique. It might be yours too. But since I have children, I find myself focused on figuring out what they can do in their lives to miss the train wreck. You see, for me, it wasn’t a series of bad choices—at least not the kind you think of. I never did drugs, never drank alcohol, and have never once been in jail.

But I’ve known an insatiable emptiness that kept me dependent upon men who didn’t love me, all the while not even acknowledging that I was already loved by a gracious and merciful Father. What I missed was the relationship. Growing up, church was something we did. So when I got to choose, it became something I didn’t do. And the lack of God’s guidance in my life cost me years of abuse, betrayal, and brokenness.

So how can we encourage our kids to have spiritual habits that help them grow in faith and develop that personal relationship with Christ? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. I’d love to share just a few simple steps in the right direction.

BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL

Have you ever seen the video with the child trying to buckle herself into the car seat? Rose is probably somewhere between two and three years old, and she’s trying to buckle her car seat despite her heavy winter jacket being in the way. Her dad asks to help, and she says, “No, thank you.” Then he asks, “What do you want me to do?” And she answers, “You worry about yourself.”

Every time I see it, I can’t help but chuckle. It’s so adorably cute. But it also reminds me that we are VERY much busted when it comes to the things we say as parents. Little Rose was simply responding that day in a way that she had already heard her parents respond. (Ahem . . . how many times have we told a child to worry about themselves?)

I’m glad kids are so cute, and I really enjoy laughing when my kids mimic something I know they got from me. But it’s more than just something to make us smile. These fun times should remind us that our kids are watching every single move we make.

So what about the big stuff? Are we modeling spiritual habits that will help our kids grow in faith? Or are they watching us check the time during the sermon or make a grocery list in the bulletin? Do they hear us pray or see us run to a friend when we have a problem?

I don’t mean to point out just those two behaviors. There are a host of poor spiritual habits that we are all pretty guilty of. Most we should work much harder on. But knowing that nothing we do will ever be perfect, we’d better also be doing some intentional teaching of the kind of spiritual habits that we want our kids to have.

TEACH SPECIFIC AND INTENTIONAL TACTICS

Hopefully, my story is enough motivation for you to realize that it simply isn’t enough to take your kids to church. There absolutely has to be more. We’ve got to intentionally teach them about the habits that will help them grow in their walk with the Lord.

I think this should start with quiet time. It’s absolutely never too early to begin this habit. If we don’t start our day with God, it’s impossible to walk the path He has laid out for us. I’ve written a post on how we teach the habit of quiet time in Devotions for Kids.

Second, and very closely related, is developing the habit of prayer. This is something that was very weak in my life, even as late as age 33. I never really knew how and never really saw a reason to learn. Sometimes churches make so little of this prayer thing with comments like “just talk to God” that we don’t stop to consider that it doesn’t come that naturally. Teaching our kids and giving them tools will really help.

I also think it’s crucial to have some sort of family devotions. I’ve written a lot on this topic too, as I know it can be scary, frustrating, and easy to give up. But we can’t! Even five minutes together pointing our children intentionally to God will help us. This is also a great time to teach your kids what you believe. Trust me, when they leave home (and maybe before), they are really going to need this foundation.

HAVE SPIRITUAL CONVERSATIONS OFTEN

Now, I love my mama, so I don’t want you to think badly about her. Trust me—she did a lot with some crummy circumstances. But she did neglect this, and I imagine it was because she didn’t know how. She probably felt as though she didn’t have the knowledge about God personally to be giving it back to us. Oh, friend, don’t believe this lie. It’s so not true. God can and will use anyone who is doing the best they can to be faithful to His Word. You don’t need to worry about messing up.

Deuteronomy 6:6–7 tells us to talk about God and His laws constantly. God says to do it “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” We can’t be taking this lightly. God didn’t say it because He thought maybe it would be fun if we got around to it. This one thing is EVERYTHING to our faith. Our kids need to hear us discussing God as a part of our lives.


.............

Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.




12.30.2022

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

 



Today I would like to look at what the Bible has to says about two very important aspects of our Christian living. One is ‘obedience’ and likewise the other is ‘sacrifice’. These two qualities are foundational for a faith filled walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Although both qualities are as important as each other, if you had to pick one or the other as to what would be more pleasing to God, what would it be? If we look into what the scriptures say, the Bible is clear that obedience is better than sacrifice. Let us begin by looking at the key verse for our study today.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 “Has 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 listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.”

What is important to God is complete obedience to Him because everything else is a by-product of this initial obedience – even sacrifice. Let us take a look at what obedience really means in the Bible.

Obedience according to the Old Testament means “to hear” or “to listen”. It is not just a regular hearing, but a hearing with reverence and obedience, whereas in the New Testament the word is suggestive of “hearing under” or of subordinating one’s self to the person or thing heard. What we are seeing here is essentially ‘relationship’. It could be a relationship between that of a master and a servant, and particularly between parents and children (Proverbs 15:20) says “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.”), or even between a sovereign or ruler and their subjects, for example in 1 Chronicles 29:23 it says “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of David his father. And he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him.”

Out of all of these, the highest significance of the usage of the word obedience in the Bible is between the relation of man to God. The reason for this is that obedience is the supreme and ultimate test of faith in God and reverence for him. This is a very important relationship which must not be broken. The significance of this spiritual relationship is expressed by Samuel when he asks the question in 1 Samuel 15:22 “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offering and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” This is the condition without which a right relationship with God cannot sustained. This is why we see that God blessed Abraham, because he passed the test of Faith through his obedience to God as it says in Genesis 22:18 “and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Even as we come into the New Testament scriptures we see that an even higher spiritual and moral relation is sustained than in the Old Testament. This important aspect of obedience is just as greatly emphasized. The greatest illustration of this is Jesus Christ Himself. As it says in Philippians 2:8 saying “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Now for us, when we are obedient to Him (Jesus Christ), then we are through Him made partakers of His salvation as it says in Hebrews 5:9 “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

This is the supreme act of faith in Christ. These words become synonymous with each other, faith and obedience. In fact the apostle Paul himself expresses this idea in Romans 1:5 saying “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,”. Peter also designates believers in Christ as “children of obedience”, as it says in 1 Peter 1:14 “As obedient children do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,”.

So we see here that obedience is seen as the test of faith in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament. The union with Christ is obedience through faith, by which we are identified and the believer becomes a disciple of Christ.

Notice here that sacrifice flows out of obedience. A sacrifice that does not flow out of obedience is disobedience and is not pleasing to the Lord.

So this is a moment that we need to look deeper into our hearts to see if we are actually providing sacrifices to God, without obeying His word. I am sure that once we examine ourselves today, we will all identify that we have fallen into the same grave mistake as Saul. And if we have, then what are we going to do about it so that our faith in Christ is established by our obedience to him.

What is the ‘obedience’ that the Lord requires?

Lets begin by looking at what the Bible has to say about obedience. As we now know, obedience is an essential part of the Christian faith. Jesus Himself attests to this as we read earlier that Jesus Himself was obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). What does obedience look like for a child of God? Just as Jesus took up the cross and was obedient unto death, when we pick up our cross and follow Christ this means obedience. Matthew 16:24 says “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” When we do this, it is a reflection of our heart condition, it is essentially showing that we love the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact in John 14:15 it says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

There are many examples in the Bible that shows us that disobedience to God is also dishonoring Him and is not pleasing to Him in any way. Lets look at an example in the scriptures that show the consequences of such disobedience. We read this account in 1 Kings 13:11-26. Here we read of a prophet who is only identified as a “man of God” who was sent by the Lord from Judah to prophecy against King Jeroboam of Israel. Jeroboam sought to seize him but it tells us in 1 Kings 13:4 saying “..Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself.” The king then asked this man of God to pray for him and his hand. When he healed the kings hand, the king attempted to reward him, but the prophet replies in v9 saying “for so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD saying, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.'”

When we read the next verse, it is clear that this man of God was careful to follow the three-fold command of God. As we read in v9, he neither ate nor drank and now in v10 it says “So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.” So far so good in keeping to the commandments of God. However, on his way home another older prophet came to him saying, in v18 “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’ But he lied to him.”

This second prophet was lying (v18), as the word of God says that no angel visited him and God had not spoken to him in regard to this matter. But the man of God believed this lying prophet – directly disobeying the very command given to him by God. While at supper the prophet who lied suddenly received a true word from God, saying in v21 “Thus says the LORD, ‘because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD and have not kept the command that the LORD your God commanded you, but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.'”

So what we see here, is that we have a prophet who disobeyed the command of the Lord and the consequences were dire. We may think to ourselves, what did the prophet do to deserve such a punishment? Wasn’t he deceived by the other prophet who lied? To us it may seem reasonable because the prophet is bringing a word from God as he says in v18 saying “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.'” To the layman this may seem reasonable that God is sending a message to the man of God through another prophet – but we all fall into the same way of thinking and falling into the trap of the deceiver. If the LORD has given a direct instruction to you, then no matter what anyone else says differently, you should not turn to the left or to the right to the command that the LORD has given to you. This is the principle by which we must base our relationship and faith in Christ. We are not to listen, even to the voice of an angel, if it is in contradiction to the word of God.

This is the very reason the apostle Paul warns in Galatians 1:8 saying “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” You are not to heed the word of any other, other than the word of God itself, no matter who it may be that is saying to you otherwise. Base every decision on this very important and foundational principle in your life. In fact Jesus Himself warns us of this very thing in Matthew 7:15 saying “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” It is our duty to test every spirit to ensure we are in obedience to God. 1 John 4:1 says “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We are to be on guard so that we are not deceived by Satan leading us to disobedience. This is the very objective of Satan, right from the beginning from the Garden of Eden where Eve was deceived and it continues to this very day. He knows that by this deception He can bring about disobedience in our life. 2 Corinthians 11:3 says “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be lead astray from a sincere devotion to Christ.”

This is why ‘obedience’ has such great importance throughout scripture. Do not look at obedience as a type of work that you need to do in order to be saved. We know that our salvation is by faith alone and a complete work of God and no works of our own, but Christ requires obedience because in the end, it benefits us and ultimately glorifies Him. It keeps us from the devices of evil, it keeps us from being lead astray, it ensures that our focus remains on Jesus Christ and that we are led by Him. In fact it is also a sign of who the real children of God are. So it is crucial for us to remember and know that this obedience flows out of our love relationship and our transformation by the Holy Spirit in Christ. If we are not grounded on this and we are not truly saved, it says in 1 Timothy 4:1 that “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,” So guard yourself by your obedience to Christ. It is for your benefit through which all glory is given to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

What is the sacrifice that the Lord requires?

Now that we have understand the importance of obedience, let us consider what is the the ‘sacrifice’ that the Lord requires. The sacrifice that the LORD requires is one that is birthed out of an obedient heart. The promise that Jesus gave to us in John 14:21 is that “Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” In other words those who has the commandment of God inwardly, shows outwardly that he is the one who loves God by his keeping of them. And for that person, God the Father loves him, Jesus Christ loves him and will reveal himself to them. What a great promise.

The scriptures tells us what kind of sacrifices are pleasing to God. 1 Peter 2:5 says “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” There are a couple of very important points that this scripture reveals to us. Firstly it is that you are like living stones being built up. What you need to know today is that, you are still a work in progress. The building work is continuing and this is a work of the Holy Spirit through whom you are being sanctified daily. So you can rest assured that it means that you are not perfect pertaining to the flesh while you remain on earth, and doesn’t mean that you will be sinless, but that you are being transformed day by day into the image of Jesus Christ. You are being built up. It is your obedience in this process that the spiritual house is being built up, and disobedience is what tears it down. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 it says that “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

In other words, you are now the temple of God. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” So if we are a temple, then there is a need for a priesthood, and if there is a priesthood then there needs to be an offering of sacrifice. The scriptures tell us that we are the temple, the priesthood and the one who is to offer these sacrifices. When you read further in 1 Peter 2:9 it says “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Note here that the concept of sacrifice has not passed away, in-fact real relationship with Christ demands it. Jesus Himself was the greatest example of this. Because of his love of the Father and to do the will of the Father and because of His love for His creation, Christ offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for the whole world. The Bibles tells us that Christ humbled Himself being obedient even to the point of death. If this is our very example, then we ought to follow what Jesus Christ did. To be obedient to His Voice and to His will. Whatever he requires of us and this in itself is the ultimate sacrifice. That is why Romans 12:1 says “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Such sacrifices are an act of worship to the Lord. The opposite of this is that when there is no obedience and yet you come to the Lord and offer Him a sacrifice of praise through your worship, through your giving, through your praise and through your prayer but deep inside and in your lifestyle you are being disobedient to the Lord, then this is not pleasing to the Lord. That is why God says ‘Obedience is better than Sacrifice’. God would rather have your obedience than any of these outward signs of sacrifice and worship. Obedience itself is a sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord. When you continue reading Romans 12:2 it says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

So let us look at the priority that the Lord places in order for us to understand what is a fragrant offering, what is an acceptable sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord? Proverbs 21:3 says “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” A sacrifice brought, when there is no righteousness and justice on your part does not please the LORD. The act of sacrifice is validated and backed up by what you are doing to please the LORD in your obedience to him. This is why obedience and sacrifice goes hand in hand. Your sacrifice is validated by your obedience. It proves that you know the will of God and you humble yourself in order to do it. As we read earlier in Romans 12:2, it says that, by the renewal of our mind we are to ‘discern what is the will of God’. When you discern God’s will and do it, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, then this in itself becomes a sacrifice presented holy and acceptable to God. You see, you yourself is that sacrifice, what you do and what you present to God is the ultimate sacrifice that is pleasing to God.

We make hundreds of decisions every single day. When we make these decision do we ever question our self – if the decision fits into what God’s will is? This is a good place to start. When we read the word of God, it tells us that God created us and redeemed us (in other words God doubly owns us), We therefore have an obligation to fulfill His will as we are His workmanship and His children. Just as Jesus said, our spiritual food must be to do the will of Him who called us out of darkness and into the marvelous light. In John 4:34 Jesus says “My food is to the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

So our priority and obligation should be to discern and fulfill God’s will through our lives. The question then becomes, how can I determine what God’s will is? In order to determine the will of God, you need to start by handing over every area of your life in to the hand of God. There are to be no hidden areas, no closed compartments but lay your life down before the LORD and acknowledge that He is going to be supreme master over your life. It is not going to be a shared rule here, but He has complete and full authority over you. When you do this, God’s path may include some severe and difficult trials but you can rest assured that even through these He will only do what is best for you and His blessings will always follow you. Psalm 84:11 says “…No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”

Once you have committed your life into the LORD’s hand, you must grow in Him intimately and through His Spirit. Spend time with the LORD, every moment you have, you need to walk with Him, continuously meditate on the word of God and spend time in prayer. The word of God reveals His will for your life. Let Him be on your mind continuously and as you begin to do these things, you will begin to have an intimate relationship with Christ keeping Him at the center of everything you to. Once you are in such a walk with Christ and in communion with the Holy Spirit your life will start to transform so that you begin to act and do all things based on biblical principles and not relying on human wisdom. You begin to realize God given gifts for your life, and you will begin to analyze the motives and desires in light of God’s sovereign purpose of His ultimate purpose of being glorified among the nations of the world.

God Bless.


.....................

Patrick Jacob, author of  "Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice", is the site & key content contributor for the ‘End of the Matter’ website. The aim of his site is to provide Christians and non-Christians alike with information about Jesus Christ and the relationship we have with the heavenly father, the creator of heaven and earth.




Search This Blog

Shop Now for our selection of Christian Strong Patriotic Tee Shirts
God the Father
Christian Planner

Join the Gospel Tract Club:


*Over 150+ Free Online Courses

Online Daily Devotional
Lookup a word or passage in the Bible


BibleGateway.com
* Brought to you by Time Served Ministry.

Welcome to Wretched's newest special: Breaking Bread!

Vog

ullscreen>

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *

Use above contact form -or- email us at CrossfitMark45@gmail.com