But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction. (1 Sam 15:9)
God had commissioned Saul to go and strike Amalek and everything they had. Saul was ordered to kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. Nothing was to be spared. God demanded absolute destruction.
God rejected Saul when Saul disobediently spared all that was good. There is a part of us which cherishes our good works, our good sides and our fortitudes. At the same time that part also has the wits to despise its bad or evil sides. The carnal minded believer is thus willing to see his bad sides eradicated, but he wrongly assumes that God will spare his good sides. He erroneously thinks that those parts are too manicured to see destruction.
However, when we accepted Christ we died. Both our good and our bad sides were crucified so that He could become our life. Astonishingly, there are still residues of our old thought patterns claiming to be heard in the midst of our new life. In the beginning there is an unwillingness in us to subject everything to His rule, so we thus perpetuate those fleshy thinking patterns which asserts that our imagined strengths are a precious fragrance to Him.
Our Father, however, rejects our fattened calves. He objective is solely to see Christ formed in us, and that implies a complete destruction of all we envisage we have. He makes it plain that we have nothing of value until we surrender everything. When we acknowledge that Christ is our life and that we have entered a perpetual union with Him we find ourselves again.
To our surprise we find that we are as He is. We even find that He doesn’t differentiate between what we considered as bad or good sides. His main concern is life, and life is a wonderful mixture of negatives and positives. Everything works together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.
When Samuel discovered Saul’s unwillingness to destroy everything he called Saul a man who was little in his own eyes. That is God’s verdict over any man who believes his self effort counts to anything. A man who is little in his own eyes thinks he has something to prove. He believes that he is something by his own powers.
Self effort is the opposite of faith and thus sin in the eyes of God, because self effort asserts that I can become more like God if I work hard to improve myself. Faith says; I am a new creation, Christ is my life and through faith I acknowledge that everything God says about me is true. I am what I am by God’s grace. I am perfectly myself. Then I have accepted myself and I am big in my own eyes. Why? The answer is that Christ is love, power and eternal life. He is in me living as me, thus I am what He is. Those qualities isn’t something He has. He is all those things. I do not either have those qualities. I am those qualities. I do not have to strive to become something I already am by the grace of God, and which I have received through Christ’s finished work.
Self-effort origins from the misapprehension that we are separate from God. However, we are in a union with Him who chose us. When self-effort is replaced by faith we see that we are in an eternal union and by faith do we understand that we are right with Him and that our soul and body are perfect manifestations of Spirit. The end of self-effort, that is, the erroneous idea that God is outside us (which He also is) is the opportunity for faith to take precedence. It is thus clear that when we live by faith we perceive that everything about us is perfect. When we live from a understanding of separation we see sin as our dominant reality.
This is part one in a series of three parts.