In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul is commanded by God to destroy the Amalekites, a group of people who had ambushed Israel on their way into the Promised Land. God told Saul to “kill all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Get the picture? God wanted this entire group wiped out.
But when Saul and his army defeated the Amalekites, verse 9 tells us they kept the king alive along with “the best of the sheep…and all that was good, and were unwilling to destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.” That act of disobedience ultimately cost Saul his place as king of Israel.
I have done the same thing. I’m more than willing to get rid of the “despised and worthless things” in my life. I’ll get rid of the bad habits, the things I don’t like about myself. I’m happy to see those things go. But there are parts of myself I’m pretty happy with, the areas where I think I’m doing pretty well, and I’m not so sure those parts have to die.
If you read on in 1 Samuel 9, Saul is absolutely dumbfounded to think that God is not happy with his disobedience. He thought he was doing God a favor by keeping the best of the spoil as a sacrifice to God. But God was not pleased.
When God tells me to die to self, He means ALL of my self. Not just the bad parts, not just the “worthless and despised” parts. You can’t partially die, it’s all or nothing. Even the things about me that I think are pretty okay will get in the way of what God wants to do in me.
It’s true for me and you, just like it was true for King Saul. Obedience is better than whatever favor I think I’m doing for God.
It’s all got to go.
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