Wednesday, September 19, 2007

seeking to please God

Jesus stated that he did not please himself, but the Father. Paul said that he made it his ambition to please God. So we're called in Jesus to a life of not pleasing ourselves, but God.

This makes life easier in one way, but in another way much more challenging. It is not natural in the human fallen sinful state to seek to please God. But it's natural for the new self in Christ and Christ in us to seek to please God. In fact when we are not doing so, we know something is wrong.

We in Jesus have the mind of Christ, but we're to let the mind of Christ have us, and completely. It's not that we're going to live perfectly in the new self, or that the old self won't have any hold on us as Christians. If such were the case, then we would not need to keep reading and heeding the call to put off old self and put on the new self, in Jesus.

I heard one of our visiting chapel speakers say once that we live, not by what we say we believe, but what we desire, what our hearts are set on, what our passion is. I agree to a large extent, and maybe in context of what he was saying actually agreed completely. But sometimes, and maybe more times than we would wish, we must by faith go against the grain of what we want. It's not about pleasing ourselves, it's not our will, but God's will that we're to choose to do. We're to be those who choose to please him in all things.

What if our "wanter" is weak at best and absent at worst? A good prayer to pray is that we would want to want to please God. Pray that for awhile, and surely God will answer as that would be a prayer prayed according to God's will. We may often have to resort to this prayer, perhaps overcome by a besetting sin that we're even cherishing in our heart. Or just overcome with life itself and our weakness in the midst of it. Here's a good prayer of the church for us to pray related to this.

As we do seek in Jesus by grace to please God, we'll find, paradoxically that this is the life that is most pleasing to us. But just the same there will always be that other side, more than ready to rear up its ugly head and insist that we get what we really want, that we please ourselves. Then paradoxically, as we would seek to please ourselves, we begin to lose our true self, and end up in the end with an emptiness since we can't fill up and satisfy ourselves in our sin. Only God in Jesus can fill us up and satisfy us as we hunger and thirst after God's righteousness for our hearts and lives.

What have you found about this that could help us, or anything you might like to share?

6 comments:

Every Square Inch said...

Ted

Thanks for this thoughtful post...it's encouraging.

Changing desires - isn't what sanctification in the Christian's life all about?

NaNcY said...

from a letter of paul to the hebrews.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


to trust
to walk ahead
and give up the fear
of what may happen
if we ask for God's will
in our lives.
a desire to
die
to the holding on
to our will...
and to desire
God's will
out of trust
and wanting to please Him

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

John Wesley said that when he went from trying to please God out of fear to wanting to please God out of love, he went from the faith of a servant to the faith of a son.

Just a little nugget of insight from someone else to add to the discussion.

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI, Yes. And I think in many cases this process takes a lifetime or many years. Though in a true sense it lasts throughout this life for all of us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Nancy.

You have a good gift for those short poetic lines.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Allan. Great quote. Always great to hear from John Wesley. So much wisdom there from that servant and man of God.

What a change and difference this made in his life when you read his story.