Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle issues’

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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Lifestyle Issues

January 27th, 2012

“Don’t get tired of doing what is good.” Galatians 6:9 NLT

“Valuable blessings enrich the hearts and lives of those who serve others unselfishly.”

My thoughts today are about “lifestyle issues.”

Basically, I think everyone wants to do what is good, to be considerate of others and helpful. However, I can understand times that discourage a person from consistently doing what is right and good as a lifestyle. Good is not always recognized by those who take others’ goodness for granted and that becomes a bit discouraging. Or good is not always realized or appreciated by those benefiting most, and one’s efforts feel devalued. Also, a good deed is not always reciprocated in kind. There are times you may feel alone trying to do what’s right and good, and wonder if the effect is worth the effort. That is discouraging and makes you question whether living for the good of others warrants the sacrifice. You learn to do the right and good things because they are right and good, not because you feel like doing so.

Here’s the Bible’s encouragement to you, “Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone . .” Galatians 6:9-10 NLT. There is a natural weariness in doing what is right and good, however noble your intentions at the first. Fallen nature, within us and others, seems bent to resist good at times.

There is a very practical instruction in preceding verses that reminds you why you are not to become slack, “Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well . . you will always reap what  you sow . . those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:2-8 NLT. Valuable blessings enrich the hearts and lives of those who serve others unselfishly. See Matthew 10:42 NLT.

Read those verses again thoughtfully; notice the rewards promised – “personal satisfaction, pleasing the Spirit, and everlasting life.” What could ever be more fulfilling? People search the world to find cheap substitutes for such personal reward and pay a high price in their soul while doing so, when those were readily available in one’s sincere kindness to others. Those benefits have their own intrinsic value, whatever the notice and appreciation of others, or lack thereof. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you.” Proverbs 3:27-30 NKJV. Do what you can when you can in the best way that you can.

Doing what is right and good is internally satisfying unless the cost and time overshadows why and for Whom you are doing so. What you do for others, do as unto the Lord. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” Ephesians 6:7-8/Colossians 3:23-24 NIV. I think this single verse sums it up well, “Your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:14 TEV. Shine where Jesus can be seen more clearly.

My prayer for you today is this: let all you do be always to God’s glory and praise!

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