Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice

By lan Warner


Obedience is an ugly word in the western world. We love Jesus for the benefits received like eternal life, peace, a loving father, grace, love, and so many more things. But we don’t love the part about getting a new master. We become slaves to Jesus Christ when we accept him into our hearts. That part of being a Christian is not always taken well because you lose your wealthy freedoms of this world. Obedience is better than sacrifice, but you need to dig deeper to understand why.

We are called to be obedient followers of Jesus Christ, but it’s not easy to do because we would rather do things our own way. For Romans 10, verses 2-3 says, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s Righteousness.” We all have sin in us, and we think we know better than God. We think our ways are greater than his, and we refuse to submit to his ways.

Why People Hate to Follow Christ?

Often, when people knock Christianity, it’s because of this very reason right here that so many walk away from the faith. They feel like it’s enslaving them and telling them how to live. The truth is that that is exactly what the Word of God does. It condemns our sin and pushes us to take up our cross and follow Jesus, and it’s not easy to do it.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous. – Romans 5:19

Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to live,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. –  Proverbs 10:17

Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go. – 1 Kings 2:3 

Why is Obedience Better Than Sacrifice

Obedience for the sake of Christ is a willingness to follow his ways because you recognize that his ways are greater. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s true. Everything God has laid out for us is to protect us. I think having sex before marriage is a great example of this. Sex is a wonderful gift that God has given us. When it’s used correctly in the context of marriage, it’s a beautiful thing. It brings joy and many blessings to a marriage.

When it’s used wrong, at the moment, it seems great, but in the end, it burns us. You end up with kids out of wedlock; you end up with sexual traumas, hurt feelings, and people who still feel connections to their exes even though they are trying to move on. The list of brokenness from sexual immorality can go on and on.

When Christians feel like all they do is sacrifice, they think about the sin they are missing out on as if it’s a good thing. It’s like complaining that you didn’t get to go to the parties in college, hook up with people, and do drugs. The culture would say that sucks, but the one who is obedient to God would say that it’s a beautiful thing that you got to avoid that sin.

Galatians 4:8

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if the Spirit leads you, you are not under the law. 19 Now the flesh’s works are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. As I warned you before, I warn you that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice Because Your Life is MUCH Better

Whatever is good, honorable, just, and pure sounds amazing! The fruit of the Spirit calls us to loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Now think about if everyone conducted themself according to these things? Do you think that life would not be better for everyone? There is no way you can look at living your life following these values and not see how God’s call to be obedient makes us better.

Often, you find what people attack the Bible; they have not even read it, nor do they understand it. They often pick out one verse that they really don’t like, and they run with it. If only they would get to study verses like the ones I laid out above in Galatians and Philippians.

Obedience to the call of God brings us peace and a sort of sweet sleep that we can only get through Jesus Christ. When we live in sin, we are not living right, and we can feel it in our guts. Our lack of disobedience begins to catch up with us and weighs us down. This does not happen when we live according to God’s way.

Proverbs 5:11-12 – ” And at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “how I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!”

The Bible is literally telling us that without being disciplined to the Word of God, we look back and hate that we were not disciplined. Think about this for a second, have you ever looked back on your life and wished you were less disciplined?  Probably not! It’s always a lack of discipline that catches up with you.

Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice Because Jesus Was The Ultimate Sacrifice

You don’t need to feel like you have to sacrifice it all to follow Christ because Jesus already did it for us. He took on the weight of all of our sins so that we could be saved and connected to God. What you have to understand is that God can’t lie, and he promised us that sin would be paid for. Only that instead of us all having to pay and die for our sins, he provided another way.

In this way, we would have to do nothing to earn it. The only way you could earn a clean slate is if you had no sin at all, and none of us can do that. So Jesus came down as a man and lived the perfect life to serve as the perfect sacrifice. He had no sin, so he would be able to take on all of our sins and die so that we would not have to. Only to rise again three days later and prove that he was exactly who he said he was.

Why not be obedient to someone who would do that for you? When was the last time someone died for you? When was the last time a perfect person died for you? You owe it to Jesus to be obedient to his commands. If you have not been then, here is your chance to repent. Turn to Jesus and let him know that you have come up short and rely on the Holy Spirit to turn away from your wicked ways. Obedience is better than sacrifice, and it always will be.

lan Warner

Ian Warner is a believer, husband, and father of three. He grew up running track in Toronto before earning a scholarship to Iowa State University. At Iowa State, he became an All-American and made the 2012 Olympic team. He currently helps people to build better habits and follow Jesus Christ.

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