Friday, September 4, 2015

Pleasing the Lord

Thou Art Worthy by C.V. Lacroix
What are you willing to do to please the Lord? Jesus always did the things that were pleasing to the Father.

He said, "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."  (Joh 8:29).

The Father confirmed this at the Lord's baptism, when He came up out of the water. The Scripture says, "Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.'" (Mat 3:17)

He was willing to do anything to please the Father. Even when it was the Father's will to crush Him, He said, "Not My will, but Yours be done." (Lk 22:42). That's love!

Not only does it require love, but it also requires faith to please God. The apostle Paul said, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Heb 11:6)

The apostle John wrote about having confidence when we pray, and receiving answers to prayer from God. He wrote: “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1Jn 3:21-22).  John taught that the reason we receive whatever we ask from Him is because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

Speaking of obedience, Paul admonished the Philippians to always obey, when he wrote to them, "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Php 2:12-13).  We, too, as disciples of Christ, must always obey, whether or not anyone is watching. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, since God is the One at work within us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. He desires to accomplish His will in us and do that which is pleasing to Him.  However, we must surrender to His will and obey Him for that to be fulfilled. That requires daily self-denial and cross-bearing.

Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?" (Luk 9:23-25). If you want to find life, you must lose your life for Christ's sake.

When you come to know Jesus, your whole life belongs to Him. Paul said, "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2Co 5:14-15).  That means that since Christ died for you, and rose again on your behalf, you must no longer live for yourself but for Him. Your life is not your own any more, but you are crucified with Christ.

You can tell whether a person's whole life is surrendered to the Lord by the words of their mouth, as well as their actions. David prayed, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psa 19:14, NIV 1984). Let it be our prayer, too! David wanted not only his actions, but even his thoughts and words, to be holy. He wanted the Lord to govern every part of his life, in order to make it pleasing to Him.

Let the Lord control every aspect of your life. That includes your finances, which means your tithes and offerings (Mal 3:10; Lk 6:38). It also includes how you spend your time on the Lord’s Day, which is Sunday (Ex 20:8; Ac 20:7-8). The Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah, "If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isa 58:13-14).

The Lord’s Day each week is holy, and we must keep it holy. It’s not a day to do profane, common, secular things, such as working, shopping, spending money, and recreational activities. That means you must turn your foot from doing your own pleasure, honor the Lord's Day, cease from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word. Then you will take delight in the Lord, live a victorious life, and the Lord will feed you both now in this life and hereafter in the kingdom of God.

Paul prayed for the Colossians, so that they might please the Lord in every way. He said, "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." (Col 1:9-10, NIV). My brother or sister in Christ, are you living a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing Him in every way? In order to do so, you need to be filled with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

Paul said, “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”  (2Co 5:9).  So whether we are at home in the body and absent from the Lord, or absent from the body and at home with the Lord, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.  In fact, we are zealous to do so!

He wrote to the Thessalonians, urging them, "As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more." (1 Thes 4:1, NIV)

He also admonished the Ephesians to “Find out what pleases the Lord.” (Eph 5:10. NIV).  That's what we should do also. The Holy Spirit teaches us what pleases the Lord, and He does through various means. He does so through His Word, His conviction, His leading, His guidance, and His gifts, as well as through visions and revelations from the Lord.  But regardless of how He shows us, it will always agree with the Word of God.

In my other articles, I have taught that love, faith, and humility are pleasing to Him, as well as godliness, holiness and righteousness.  Some specific examples of what pleases Him are having a servant's heart, refusing to compromise, separation from the world, refusing to conform to the world, being transformed by the renewing of your mind, keeping Sundays holy, tithing, godly attire and adornment, sobriety, faithfulness to your marriage partner, keeping the marital bed holy, intercession, obedience, walking in His perfect will, following His ways, doing everything for the glory of God, having clean hands and a pure heart, purging the evil from among you, and evangelizing the lost.

Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Then any changes you make in your life should be out of total love for Jesus, understanding Who He is and who you are in Him. Your attitude should be that because you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will do whatever pleases Him by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. "Thou Art Worthy" illustration by my seventeen-year old daughter, C.V.  You can find more of her lovely artwork at A Brush with Life.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Restored Truth, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Clean Hands and a Pure Heart, Salvation with Fear and Trembling, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, The Ways of Life, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Is Tithing Required for Christians?, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Having a Servant's Heart, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Divorce -- Three Divine Revelations, A Warning for Married Christian Couples, The Obedience of Faith, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, For the Glory of God Alone, Rescue Souls!, Separation from the World, Led by the Spirit, and Standing in the Gap. My daughter has also written a lovely poem called Cross Bearing., as well as a short article called Be Willing to do Anything God Asks. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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