What God Wants from Us
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
Something I have never been able to get a handle on in my spiritual life is finding the harmony between loving God with my mind, my actions, and my emotions. It’s rare that all three are working in tandem, at least to the extent that they should be. This inconsistency has often driven me to depression and frustration. It wasn’t until recently that someone explained to me that from a biblical perspective, a person’s “heart” is not only one of these things (like our emotions) but rather the totality of our will, emotion, and intellect. I find this both comforting and convicting.
Many Christians struggle with the habit of offering God something different than what He actually wants from them. We try to give Him our badge of hollow busyness rather than exhausting ourselves in eternally-imperative endeavors. When we sin, we try to give Him our guilty self-hatred rather than genuine repentance. We want a gold star for taking diligent sermon notes on Sunday morning, without applying those learned principles to our lives. We try to substitute God’s requirements of us with things that are easier, more comfortable, more familiar, and more personally advantageous - as though we’re exchanging fries for mashed potatoes at Applebees.
God doesn’t want these kinds of offerings. We may not offer Him slain goats, but we regularly give smaller parts of ourselves than what He deserves and asks for. The irony is the yoke we remain under by doing this is so much heavier and more cumbersome than the yoke of Christ (Matthew 11:30). He wants our abandoned commitment to His ways and preferences. He wants our whole hearts.
Father, show me through the Holy Spirit where I have exchanged Your requirements for something lesser, or exchanged the yoke of Christ for a yoke of my own devising. Convict me strongly when I give you offerings that don’t please You. Enable me to abandon my heart...my whole being...to Your will and Your ways. Show me the folly of my will and my ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What are some “offerings” that you try to bring to God as substitutes for steadfast love and knowledge?
Jessica is a native to the Appalachian mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, although she now resides in northern Virginia with her husband. She has been a lover of reading since elementary school and a lover of Christ since high school. She is a full time English major, in hopes that her studies will help her more effectively minister to other through written words. Her favorite things in the world are British tea, old books, autumn leaves, dry humor, and rainy weather. Her goal as a writer is to demonstrate how the Gospel, objective truth, and sound theology are not only applicable, but essential, to all aspects of life as a woman, especially in a world that celebrates sin, false doctrine, and self-sufficiency.