Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pleasing God

It doesn’t seem to come naturally to human beings...we all want to do what we want to do. We don’t like to consult first with others. We make excuses that ‘it’s the American way….!’ I remember the old TV commercial that said…”Mother...I’d rather do it myself.” We pride ourselves in our accomplishments and our self sufficiency. And all too often, we find ourselves trying to do things our way, only to end up in frustration and failure. We want to please God, but too often we want to please ourselves and others first.
The Apostle Paul struggled with this too. It is an age old problem. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (Romans 7:15) We all want to do it right! But we often fail….yielding to the carnal and sinful flesh. We want to be pleasing to God, but we continually struggle, day after day. It sometimes seems like everyone around us is doing just fine...but we falter. What is it that makes the difference?

1. Recognize that you sin. You are not alone in this. Sin is a problem common to the entire human race. We were born in sin. Sin is not unique to just you. It is a problem that each person must confront and deal with in the way God prescribes. Too often we don’t talk about sin. Pastors today in ‘sensitive’ churches, tend to paint a rosy picture of life, filled with people who just make ‘mistakes’. God calls it sin! Sin is a big problem that will hinder your spiritual life and prevent you from entering the presence of a holy God. Each man, woman, boy or girl must come to grips with the sin habit. Those who fail to deal with their sin will never enter His holy presence.

2. Overcomers are rewarded. God provides incentives. He rewards us with so much when we decide to please Him instead of ourselves. “What rewards?” you may ask. The Bible is filled with the rewards that await those who choose to please Him….heaven, (John 14:1-4) help (John 14:15-17) love (John 14:23) fruitfulness (John 15:5) joy (John 15:11) and all the promises of God.

3. Live your life as if God were standing by your side. There are Bible heroes who were noted as being men and women who pleased God . First of all we think of Enoch. He pleased God so much, that the Bible tells us ‘God took him’ (Hebrews 11:5). What was it about Enoch that pleased God? It was his faith...that resulted in actions...And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Heb 11:6) It takes faith to serve God diligently, believing in His existence so that it affects every waking moment of your life...causing you to seek Him daily.
King David, although he sinned, he was also a man who sought God. Whenever David sought God for the problems he faced, God blessed his kingdom. But the moment David started doing things on his own, (counting the troops), he trusted in his own ability instead of God’s ability. That’s when failure came. That’s when sin conquered. He learned from his failure and spoke wisely from that lesson….I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. 1 Chron 29:17. It is getting harder to find people of integrity… people who will do the right thing, even when no one is watching….people who go the extra mile, people who refuse to bow to the carnal culture around them. But those kind are God pleasers!
Solomon started out well., for in 1 Kings 3:9-10 we read Solomon’s request. 9 Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.
If that were you, and God asked you what you wanted in life, how would you do? Most folks would ask for money or lands or tangible things...but Solomon wisely asked for the understanding heart. That pleased God! While God rewarded him with wisdom and wealth, Solomon later failed because he forgot to continually seek God.

4. Love the Lord with all Your Heart. We know this is one of the two great commandments that Jesus spoke of. Yet to make it personal and do it daily is a daunting task. The Psalmist said…’the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.’ (Psalm 147:11) People have their hopes in so many things today. Some hope the stock market will rise. Others hope to find a kettle of gold at the end of the rainbow, via the lottery. Some hope for a great successful career. Others hope to meet that special someone who will solve all their problems in life and put stars in their eyes. Loving the Lord does not mean you can’t have nice things, or be successful. It does mean that you put Him first in everything. When we do, He promises that all the other things we long for will also be satisfied. He is the source of our fulfillment. He is the hope and joy and love of the believer. When we love Him the way He wants us to, everything else just falls into place. How many young couples have married, thinking that their partner will bring them happiness, only to discover shortly thereafter, that they married a sinful human being, just like themselves. They divorce, trying to find that perfect someone, only being disappointed again and again. That’s what happens when our hearts look to mankind to make us happy when God designed us with an emptiness that only He can fill. If you are struggling in your relationship today, start loving Him again, and then begin to treat your loved ones as if they were Jesus...loving them unconditionally, serving them with gladness of heart. A Christ-centered heart is a happy heart, and pleases God and man. In fact you do more than please delight Him!

5. Make Humility the Norm. There is nothing more obnoxious than being around someone who is arrogant. It’s like living with a skunk. You can’t wait to make an exit. (Psalm 51:16-17) ‘You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’ God is consistent...although He asked for sacrifices...He did not delight in them. What gets God excited is a broken and contrite humble heart….one willing to admit their sin, willing to come to God when the going gets tough...willing to listen and obey. Lots of folk go through the all the right things...give to the right causes… but they look for the glory...they want the attention. God looks for those who seek no glory and honor.
So are you pleasing God? It’s not an easy assignment. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. It comes real easy when you fall in love with Jesus all over again. Look at what He has done for you! Remember what He has saved you from!
I have always endeavored to please God with my life. It has been an interesting journey. Each day is a new experience in pleasing Him. As I daily get to know Him more, I discover new secrets of who He is. That’s the way it is when you are in love. Each day is a new adventure...seeking to know Him more...spending time in His presence...listening to His still small voice...and then walking throughout the day in obedience.—no matter what others think.
If you are reading this today and the heavens seem like nobody is listening….start by searching your heart. Repent of anything that has come between you and His awesome presence. Clean the slate. Start fresh. Then begin loving Him. Tell Him how much you love Him….instead of what you need. Open your heart to Him. Imagine yourself entering His throne room, as He beckons you to come closer. Bow in His presence and get real with Him. No more pretend. No more lies. Nothing between! You are His delight!
It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married”;
For the LORD delights in you…
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:4-5
Take some time today to be in His presence...and bring Him pleasure.
J. Johnson

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