Thursday, August 18, 2022

Pleasing God (Hebrews 13)

"But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. 13:16).

Since we discussed “behaving wisely” in Psalm 101 yesterday, through next week we will examine how we can please God in our lives. At the end of every daily study, I will provide application questions. As we study the Scriptures, we must always keep in mind how we are to apply these truths to our lives. When we become Christians, we are instantly justified before God and declared legally righteous. But this legal removal of guilt is not the only thing that happens when we become Christians. The Holy Spirit changes our hearts, bringing to life what was once dead. This change begins a lifelong process of becoming holy and righteous in the sight of God. This is called sanctification.

Sanctification can be a difficult and frustrating process as you struggle against the remaining sin nature, as you fight against temptation and strive to live according to the Spirit, and as you seek to please God by obeying His commandments. This ongoing struggle marks the life of every Christian. If you are not engaged in this battle, if you are not pushing forward in the race to win the prize, you cannot call yourself a Christian. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Pleasing God means conforming to His image, living by His grace in accordance with His commands. We are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Every day should be one step closer to the kingdom of God. Jonathan Edwards once wrote that the seeking of the kingdom of God is the chief business of the Christian. That means growing in grace, bearing fruit, and obeying God’s commands.

Jesus shows us in His Word and life what it means to please God. He told the Jewish people that God is always with Him: “He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him” (John 8:29). Jesus led a pure and sinless life. He obeyed His Father in everything. While our lives will always be tainted with sin, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit who gives us the strength to do all things through Christ.

Read Deuteronomy 10:12, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Micah 6:8, and Mark 12:33. What do these passages say that pleases God? While obedience is not the ground for our salvation, it is a necessary fruit of genuine faith. What kind of fruit do you have in your life? Are you striving to please God in every way?