But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.”
—1 Samuel 15:22
To obey is better than sacrifice. This simple statement contains the secret to pleasing God. Rebellion began with the devil’s asserting his own will and making his own decisions. Saul’s problems started when he no longer was small in his own eyes but, in pride, began to make decisions apart from God’s will.
Rebellion and arrogance tell us that we know more than God does and that our ways are above His ways. The Lord, however, doesn’t need us to think for Him, but only to carry out what He commands. He found this trait in David, a young shepherd boy who possessed a heart to obey Him fully (1 Samuel 16:7). Because of David’s pure heart, God took the kingdom from Saul and awarded it to David.
Jesus’ life was powerful because He never once asserted His own will. In the wilderness, during His ministry, at Gethsemane, and on the cross, Jesus perfectly obeyed. So, too, does our power with God rest in our obedience to Him. We must always remember this: The important thing is not that we have done something for God, but that we have done what God wanted us to do!