When I read Scripture I see myself in many characters in the Bible.
In Peter, I see my “open mouth, insert foot” tendencies. Often times my mouth gets to running before my brain is in gear! I have had the reputation of being a “loud-mouth lime” type of person.
In the Apostle Paul, I see myself commiserating over the dilemma of trying to be obedient to God’s will. “What I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” (Romans 7:15 NIV)
Obedience is not an easy thing to accomplish at times. King Saul found that out first-hand. Under instruction from God to go to battle against the Amalekites and completely destroy them, man, woman, child, and livestock, Saul thought he had a better plan. Not only did he disobey God’s command to annihilate the Amalekites, he took King Agag as his prisoner and took the best of the livestock for the spoils of war. His excuse to Samuel was that the “people” spared the sheep and oxen for sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel saw through his excuses and declared, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15:22)
When Allen and I lived in Montana, I heard a pastor on our local Christian radio station speaking about this Scripture passage. He said something that has stuck with me all these years later. He said, “Look at the word ‘obedience’. Write it out on paper. In the middle of the word is another word, DIE. Obedience is dying to your own will to do God’s will.”
Dying to my will is not easy – it’s a daily struggle. However, I do not have to be discouraged. The Apostle Paul assures me that, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)