“Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, bring your sacrifices…” 2 Chron. 29:31
That verse seems backward to us. When we think of trying to please the Lord, we imagine sacrificing things, quitting habits, straightening up, or stopping certain behaviors. But this verse says we’ve got that in the wrong order. God is more interested in our hearts than our outward actions. He cares about why we do things and He desires that our service and our sacrifice flow from a heart of love for Him. When our hearts are consecrated to Him, right actions will naturally result.
However, instead of doing things in God’s order, we try to negotiate. We think things like, “I really messed up last night, so I’ll put an extra twenty bucks in the offering plate today.” Or, “I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but at least I’m not as bad as that guy and he goes to church all the time!” To our way of thinking, our extra effort should cancel our failure. We hope God is comparing our behavior with somebody worse. But that is not God’s thinking. He wants nothing less than total surrender, and He only compares us with the perfection of His Son. He desires consecration, because only then can He empower us to live the way He designed us to live. Trying to offer a sacrifice without consecration is just wasted effort (1 Sam. 15:22).
Are you trying to appease rather than please the Lord? He knows the difference.