“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil” (Ecclesiastes 5.1 ESV).
One of the saddest things we can do as Christians is to sacrifice time, money, resources and energy in the name of God but not in true obedience to God. It is sad because we place a burden on ourselves and others that God our loving Father has not required of us. To be sure, God will and does expect our complete surrender to His will, which undoubtedly entails sacrifice. However, God gives us grace to bear the weight of our appointed sacrifice when we are in obedience to the Holy Spirit. He does not give us grace when we walk in our own strength in pure disobedience to His individualized calling in our lives. We can claim to do good works in the name of the Lord; but when our actions are done outside of God’s will, we create idols. If we become comfortable in our own preconceived holiness, we might very well cease to cling and depend solely on the Holy Spirit and take matters into our own hands–ignoring and shunning the mighty arm of God. If we commit to actions in the name of the Lord, we better make sure we are attentively listening for the Holy Spirit’s direction. Otherwise, we won’t realize that our self-motivated sacrifices are evil in the sight of God. Absolutely nothing–no matter how good it appears to us and to the world–is sanctified to the Lord unless it birthed from His Spirit and dedicated to His Kingdom Plan.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17.7-8 ESV).