2 Corinthians 5:9-10
I was alone in my office in our church-based Bible college in Anchorage, Alaska. A teacher friend of mine from our Christian school in the same building dropped by with a message for me. He said that God had spoken to his heart to come and tell me simply that the Lord was pleased with me. Then he left, and I was alone again in the office.
I closed and locked the door, leaned against the wall, and wept. I was overwhelmed with the thought that God would so graciously affirm His love and encouragement to me, a far-from-perfect man. I’m thinking right now of the apostle Paul’s wise counsel. Reflecting on his own life in Philippians 3:12 (NLT), Paul said, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on…” He knew how far short he still fell of attaining the image of Christ. (I know how much farther short I fall) But Paul kept on pressing forward for a better walk with the Lord: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14, KJV).
Other than Jesus, the apostle Paul is my favorite New Testament person. He was a man of high character and of magnificent devotion to the Lord. Yet he realized how short he still fell of measuring up to the faultless character of the Lord Jesus Christ. So how did Paul respond to that realization? He said, “I press on … I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
And that is the encouragement I took from my teacher friend Steve’s word to me — that God was pleased with me, His child. Knowing that God said that even despite my shortcomings, my heart was stirred to “press on, to press toward” all that the Lord had for me and wanted from me. Virtually every day I am reminded of, and motivated towards, the goal of pleasing the Lord. You and I can and should imitate the godly pattern of our great apostolic role model Paul and “make it our goal to please [the Lord].” Daily, hourly, moment to moment.
Here we have the greatest Example of all time — the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Speaking of His heavenly Father, Jesus said, “I always do what pleases Him.” I take two personal lessons from this:
1) If the goal of the Lord Jesus Himself was to please God the Father, how can we do any less!
2) This goal so motivated Jesus that He could say, “I always do what pleases Him.” In other words, every word, thought, and action of our Savior was motivated by His ongoing desire to please God the Father.
Our Savior has modeled for us a supremely worthy goal — to please God … always! In every thought, word, and deed.
As our article title at the top says, it is a supremely worthy goal to seek to please the Lord. The desire to please Him will help us to successfully “live a life worthy” of Him. If our hearts are determined to please Him “in every way,” we’ll find ourselves often throughout the day asking ourselves, “Will this thought, this word, this action I’m considering please my Lord?” And lo and behold, you’ll find that the Holy Spirit will consistently guide you into God-pleasing choices.
A closing thought. Memorize this short sentence: Will this please the Lord? Apply it to things that come up in your life each day. The Holy Spirit will speak wisdom to you and will help you to pursue the right choices. You’ll find it’s not hard to live a life worthy of the Lord if, as in both Christ’s and Paul’s words, you make it your goal always to please God.
One final word. I have written elsewhere about Ephesians 5:10 — “Find out what pleases the Lord.” If you would like to learn more specifics from the Lord about what you can do to please Him, I invite you to take a look at “What Pleases God? | Find Out Here”
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.