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Posts Tagged ‘Hebrews 13:16’

Lifestyle Issues

March 11th, 2015

“We urge you to live in a way that pleases God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT.

Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone.

My thoughts and comments today are about “lifestyle issues.”

EDL pix walking with God

If you try to please everyone, you will ultimately please no one and make yourself miserable in the process. Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone. Neither is practical or achievable. Life is simpler when you finally decide who you are going to please. And the worst possible alternative is to live to please no one but yourself. The Bible warns, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead be modest in your thinking.” Romans 12:3 TEV.

Many things pressure you to conform to others’ demands and expectations. Resist the temptation of doing so. The Apostle Paul offers a practical self-inventory, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV. Obviously, Paul recognized a previous time when he was “still trying to please men,” and the inconsistency that resulted.

The proper conclusion is this: when you can serve both God and man, do so. When you cannot, serve and please God above all others. “Our aim is to please Him always . . for we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NLT. Never forget the One to whom you owe first allegiance.

The surrounding culture may press you to conform your attitudes, values, and conduct in less than exemplary ways; live as unto the Lord. See Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Current circumstances might seem to impose an urgency of attention they may not warrant; live above your present circumstance. An unhealthy family history may have enslaved you in habitual behaviors, struggling to please people who simply refuse to be pleased; live free of unjust expectations. Some have had the unfortunate experience of working for a boss you could not please, a relative from whom you never gained their approval, or a parent or spouse who never affirms you. That is sad, but not uncommon. Such experiences present lifestyle issues.

Ultimately, the only hope of pleasing others is to confidently know that you have first pleased God. Here is the Bible’s definitive guideline: “Finally, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You are doing this already, and we encourage you to do so more and more.” Read 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:1 NLT. After struggling unsuccessfully to please others, maybe your question would be, “How then can I please God?” Pleasing people is complicated; pleasing God is not. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 NIV. See Romans 14:17-18 NIV.

The task is not yours alone; God gives you all that is required; you supply obedience. “May God equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:21 NIV. Paul’s answer was this, “. . we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way . .” Colossians 1:9-10 NIV. Paul then elaborates on what pleases God, “. . bearing fruit, growing in knowledge, strengthened with power, having endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks, brought into the Kingdom, and having redemption and the forgiveness of sins.” Read Colossians 1:11-14 NIV.

I love the simplicity with which the Bible described ancient Enoch, a man that walked with God, “Enoch had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Read Hebrews 11:5-6 (See Genesis 5:21-24).

Today, my prayer for you is that at life’s end, His testimony and yours will be that you pleased God.

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Interruptions and Opportunities

May 16th, 2014

As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” Galatians 6:10 NIV.

Opportunities often appear as interruptions or inconveniences.

My thoughts and comments today are about “interruptions and opportunities.”

Good people do good things when they can and there are plenty of opportunities, if you are watching and wanting to do so. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart.” Luke 6:45 NIV. Can you remember how good you felt when someone was helpful and kind to you, when they weren’t obligated? There are people around you every day who would be encouraged by even the smallest act of kindness – a compliment, a thank you, a door held open, a smile, a helping hand, a gesture of concern, a kind note or call, or an offer of prayer. See Ephesians 2:10 NIV. When you see a need, is it an opportunity, or an interruption or inconvenience?

Paul’s instruction to the Church is clear, as is the reward, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers . . Because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” Galatians 6:9-10 /Ephesians 6:8 NIV.

Usually, failure to do a good thing is not for lack of opportunity. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV. Why do we not do what we can when we could? I think the answer is simple: opportunities often appear as interruptions or inconveniences.

In the context of being neighborly, Jesus told the story of a Good Samaritan. Read Luke 10:30-37 NKJV. A man had been robbed, beaten, and left beside the road. A priest and a Levite actually paused long enough to see the man, but hurried on their way without helping. A Samaritan “saw him and had compassion on him. So he went to Him, bandaged his wounds . . and took care of him.” See Matthew 5:16 NIV.

I have over simplified the story for the sake of brevity. Were they afraid for their own safety? Were the religious men uncaring? Maybe to one it was an interruption to his plans, to another possibly an inconvenient time, but for the Samaritan this was an opportunity to do good. Solomon advised, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” Proverbs 3:27 NKJV/James 4:17 NIV. It is likely the others’ lives were no busier than the man who stopped to help. Inattentiveness is often the culprit but busyness is the cause.

The deciding factor should always be: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 NIV. Pleasing others is a trap; pleasing yourself is a dead end; pleasing God is rich with reward. Everyday, in ways large and small, there are opportunities to help. If you aren’t available to those opportunities that appear large, you probably will not recognize the ones that seem small. Jesus is your example; ”God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good . .” Acts 10:38 NIV. You are anointed to bless others.

My prayer for you today is that you will embrace every opportunity to do good.

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