Recently, I've been reminded of the value obedience. I was spending time with Jesus the other morning and felt the Lord tell me to turn to 1 Samuel chapter 15. I started reading and the chapter is about Saul being annointed as King. Samuel annoints him then gives him his first command from the Lord: to destroy Amalekites. He was told to not take anything for himself and to kill every person living among the Amalekites. Rather than obeying completely, Saul chose not to kill the king and take some of the animals for himself. Partial obedience isn't obedience. It's actually disobedience.
The Lord was not pleased. He sends Samuel to confront Saul and Saul tries to make exscuses. He claims that he took the animals so that he could sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel's reponse hit me: "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" (verse 22). Yes! Obedience is better because I know that Jesus is for me and has the best for my life. So can obey confidently knowing that He takes care of me and has His church and my interests at heart.
I started reading again to see where Saul went wrong. Samuel says to him in verse 17 "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord annointed you king over Israel." Saul didn't know his true identity and didn't walk in the royality and authority God had given him. When we believe lies we shrink back from obedience. But when we walk in the authority of who God says we are, we obey easier. When we know Who's we are, we can obey without hesitance or fear.
I also noticed that in verse 24 Saul says "because I feared the people, I obeyed their voice." Saul gave into fear rather than walking in his authority. When fear invades our lives, it clouds our judgement causing us to disobey when boldness is required. 1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." When we have an encounter with the love of God fear is removed. When our eyes are on Jesus who is all-loving, we are able to walk without fear. Stare at Jesus - it's really that simple!
I'm convinced that when we live in the reality of the love of God, we will obey more naturally. Because the more we know His character, the easier and more natural it is to obey. I'm also convinced that obedience is better - no matter the size of the task or step. When we disobey it ends in conviction and then repentance. But when we obey it ends in faithfulness, character development and more authority/responsibility. And when we obey in the small things, it's easier to obey in the big things. Stare at Jesus, receive the love of God and then obey even in the little things, ready to follow what He says when He says it. TO OBEY IS BETTER.