Whom do I seek to please? Myself? Others? God? Yes, and usually in that order, too. Boy, have I got it backwards!! In this verse, Paul makes it clear that my goal in life is to please God FIRST. And make no mistake, I WILL be judged for my actions here on earth!"So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." - 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 (NIV)
Whether I'm home alone or out and about, my goal is to live to please God. But what pleases Him? Living righteously, for one thing. Romans 14:17-18 (NIV) says this: "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God." Okay...so, what does living righteously look like? I can find an answer to this is several verses of the Bible. James 1:19-22 (NIV) tells us, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." OUCH! There's my pitfall again!! I must get this anger thing under control - under God's control - if I truly want to live righteously. What else? Well, Peter gives me these instructions: "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:8-12 NIV) Wow!! Basically, watch my mouth, be kind, and don't seek revenge. Okay...understood. Let's look at one more. Paul and Timothy say the following in their letter to the Philippians: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (Philippians 4: 8 NIV) Hmmmm....so I must be careful what I think about!! Tough one because that's where Satan attacks the hardest. If the enemy can control our thoughts, he can control our lives. I definitely need God's help with this one!
I could quote many more scripture verses that tell me how to live a righteous life and be pleasing to God. But I think there is one passage that sums it up perfectly, at least for me. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love NEVER fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NIV) If I choose to love - no matter who, no matter what, no matter where, no matter when and no matter how - then I will be able to overcome my anger, I will have no trouble watching what I say or how I act, and Satan will have no foothold in my thoughts. Then I know I can reach the goal of living a life that is pleasing to God.
"The One who calls you to a life of righteousness is the One who, by our consent, lives that life of righteousness through you!" - Major Ian Thomas
Dear Lord, I desire to live my life so that it is pleasing to You and not to myself. I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior but there is so much more to living a righteous life. Please help me to keep Satan out of my thoughts and to be careful of what I say. Most of all, God, teach me to love as You love. May I see all others as You see them, Lord - made in Your image and loved by You. In Jesus' name, Amen.