1 Samuel 15:22– But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
*Jeff doesn’t struggle with pornography. In fact he says, “My wife is beautiful and I never want to look at other women.”
*Nate overcame his habitual sin of gluttony. After once being over 300 lbs. he skips desert- unless it’s fresh fruit.
*Brian and Veronica saved their sexual relationship for marriage. (Like Colton and Annie)
*Jessica has made a habit of regularly visiting and serving a person who is home-bound.
A rare breed- each and every one. Obedient followers of Jesus. (Though their names have been changed, I am glad to call them all friends.) For some, there is simply a lack of temptation in a common area where many desperately struggle. For others it is a daily (and even moment by moment) dying to self.
Why is it that those living in victory often feel hesitant (or even ashamed) to share it?
Gossip Girls: Unfriendly chatter can- and most often does- ensue when people encounter someone who is obedient. Think I’m wrong? Check out the eye rolls when someone fighting gluttony special orders “plain chicken breast and broccoli with water” at a restaurant.
Messy You, Messy Me: We’ve become so used to disobedience that actual unapologetic obedience seems odd and uncomfortable. We don’t know what to do with it. We celebrate our “being messy” cliche to the point we forget that “unmessy-ing” is the sanctification process.
Obedience Hurts People’s Feelings: This is probably the most prevalent and most controversial one. Obedience in the area of saving the life of a baby from abortion may hurt the feelings of someone who took the life of her own child (as discussed here.) A couple saving the act of marriage for marriage is a reminder to some of their own disobedience (as discussed here.)
My Kind of Grace-Only. Grace is beautiful. Grace means in spite of my sin we have a chance- through Jesus Christ. Our sin has been miraculously covered. However this is the part we often ignore… Grace means there is freedom in Christ to flee from sin. Freedom to actually have victory and to believe victory is possible! Instead we much prefer commiserating with stories of sin failure and an “I’ll pray for you.”
1 Corinthians 10:13- No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
You’re Scary. Another’s victory over sin is intimidating. Another’s obedience often reminds us of our lack. Even if we outwardly express admiration often we inwardly grumble. Frankly, we might even be jealous. Not that good church people judge or anything…
Roman 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice [in their victory and obedience], and weep with those who weep.
We have come to believe that claiming any victory is prideful… that it should not be talked about. Any victory comes from Christ alone and my obedience through Him is an opportunity for me to point to Him. Someone who has found freedom from any sin hang-up has the responsibility to train others (2 Timothy 2:2) not gloat.
In Everything, Moderation. We often discuss the need for balance or options instead of obedience. “Take time for yourself, don’t push so hard. Don’t be so hard on yourself. That’s kind of legalistic, don’t you think?”
Don’t Let Me Down. We are afraid to make people into “Super Christian” heroes and having them fail us. Been there, done that. It hurts.
We can, and should, celebrate victories in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Living in accountability and deep relationships gives us this opportunity. We can see people are multi-faceted, with the Holy Spirit continually shining the light on new areas in need of growth… and more that needs to be given over to Christ to control. Rejoicing in this process together is the Body of Christ!