As I was praying this morning I was reminded of the verse that says, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” I didn’t remember the rest of the verse so I googled it and found 1 Samuel 15:22 which reads:
“So Samuel said: “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 heed than the fat of rams.”
When I heard, “to obey is better than sacrifice” I knew God was referring to something specific in my life: writing. More specifically, writing on this blog, Beyond Cliches.
I haven’t been writing on here even though I believe God wants me to. I have a million excuses why I keep “putting it off”. Some of my favorite are:
- I have nothing important to say.
- I should do everything with “excellence” so I don’t want to write on here again unless it’s quality writing.
- I don’t want to start writing and then quit like I did before.
- My time would be better spent in my prayer closet than writing a blog.
And it was that last one that I believe God was confronting. I’ve gotten in the habit of waking early at 5:00 am, making my coffee and toast and then setting my timer for 60 minutes of devotional time. I’m definitely a creature of habit and I believe strongly in the value of developing good habits.
So each morning (I don’t do this every morning) I wake up, take a shower, then go downstairs and make myself a green smoothie and a piece of toast. Then I make myself a cup of coffee and step into my home office by 5:40 am. That’s when the 60 minute timer starts. I usually read for about 30 minutes and then step into my prayer closet and pray for the remaining 30 minutes.
And today, during my reading time I read this:
“The lifting up of holy hands is essential to Christlike praying. It is not, however, a holiness which only dedicates a closet to God, which sets apart merely an hour to him, but a consecration which takes hold of the entire man, which dedicates the whole life to God.” – E.M. Bounds.
I thought, shoot, that’s me. I’m good at separating an hour to God but what about the other 16 waking hours of my day? How often do I think about God during the day?
Bounds went on to talk about the importance of obeying God and how it affects our prayer life. So with that thought in mind I stepped into my prayer closet and that’s when the words, “To obey is better than sacrifice” became loud and clear. My next thought was, If God asked me to write again then why I’m I so concerned with spending “exactly 60 minutes reading & praying” when I’m not doing what He asked me to do in the first place?
So with that I stepped out of my closet and started writing this post.
I don’t know where this will go. But I believe, at least in this season of my life, that God wants me to write in here again. And I feel like I’m supposed to share my journey with God, not just “Bible teachings”.
I don’t know about you but I feel like we’re flooded with “information” about God. But we’re starved for insights on how to actually live spiritual lives. How do we actually engage in this new life that Christ died for us to have? What do we do when church is over on Sunday afternoon?
Well, something that has helped me is reading other peoples’ stories of their journeys. And lately one man stands out to me. His name is Frank Labauch.
I don’t have time to go too in depth about Labauch’s story but here’s an excerpt from his story which you can read more about here:
Frank Charles Laubach was a man with, a big heart who made a difference.
Time magazine called him Mr. Literacy…..
Many others called him the “Apostle to the Illiterates”…….
Lowell Thomas called him the ‘greatest teacher of our time’……
On the anniversary of his 100th birthday in 1984, the U.S. Post Office honored him by putting his picture on a postage stamp in the Great American series.
But perhaps the most touching, and revealing title was given him by the tribes of the Belgian Congo. They called him Okombekombe, which means “mender of old baskets”, because he taught old people to read and write.
In a nutshell: Labauch was both a mystic and man who accomplished great things in the world. Lately I’ve been benefiting greatly from going through his journals. Here’s one entry that got me thinking about this blog and why it’s important to share our inward journeys:
October 12, 1930
“How I wish, wish, wish that a dozen or more persons who are trying to hold God endlessly in mind would all write their experiences so that each would know what the other was finding as a result! The results, I think, would astound the world. At least the results of my own effort are astounding to me… The very universe has come to seem so homey! I know only a little more about it than before, but that little is all! It is vibrant with the electric ecstasy of God! I know what it means to be ‘God intoxicated.”
And I agree. I wish more people would share their experiences about “trying to hold God endlessly in mind.” We Christians talk and write about so many things but why is this not one of them? Is it because it’s “weird”? Labauch wrote this in another entry on January 26, 1930:
It is not the fashion to tell your inmost thoughts, but there are many wrong fashions, and concealment of the best is us is wrong. I disapprove of the usual practice of talking “small talk” whenever we meet, and holding a veil over our souls. If we are so impoverished that we have nothing to reveal but small talk, then we need to struggle for more richness of soul. As for me I am convinces that this spiritual pilgrimage which I am making is infinately worth while, the most important thing I know of to talk about. And talk I shall while there is anybody to listen. And I hunger — O how I hunger! for others to tell me their soul adventures.
So there you have it. That’s a little glimpse into the writings that have gotten me so stirred up. It makes me want to embark on the same type of experiment that Labauch conducted: to try and hold God in mind every moment of the day (he called it “the Game with Minutes”). And then to write about the results. My hope is that I’ll meet other people out there who are interested in doing the same. And like Labauch said, I would love to know what results those people are finding.
Feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
About Josh Monen
Josh is a Christian, entrepreneur and writer from Ridgefield, WA. He's married with three kids: ages 4, 2 and 1. Before he met God, Josh was a drug addict with a $500/day cocaine addiction that almost killed him. Today he's seeking a real authentic relationship with God and others.
Great post Josh
I’ve been trying to do this at work. It is a real struggle.
But I have had quite a few awesome experiences, sharing Christ with others and not just working on “auto pilot.” If we fathers, husbands, leaders can get our priorities in order God, Family, then work. There would be a true revival.
That’s awesome you’ve been trying this Rondy. I agree, it’s not easy at all. Easy to talk about. But hard to implement. And I think you’re right on about the key to true revival. We have to find out how to really “seek first the kingdom of God”.
Wow. I thank God for leading me to this and using you to reveal this. I must confess that I was given the gift and task to write and I to came up with excuses. Its not that I didnt want to its just I always had to read or pray, or do something else. When deep down I knew what I had to do, but I placed it to the side. I shall pray that you continue upon your calling and pray as well that I may , In jesus name.
Hi Alexandria, thank you for sharing. When I read your comment I was reminded of this quote from the movie Chariots of Fire, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” If you feel God’s pleasure when you write then why not write?
If you start writing somewhere online feel free to come back here and share a link to it. God bless.